A ground breaking new video is challenging the commonly held perception that a loving relationship is all you need to ensure your end-of life wishes will be met.
The launch of the video is timed to stimulate interest and discussion in the lead up to the third annual, National Advance Care Planning Week, 23 – 27 March, an initiative led by Advance Care Planning Australia (ACPA), with funding from the Australian Government.
Produced by the award-winning Creativa video production agency, the Love is Not Enough video introduces two couples and one father and daughter, testing how well they know their loved one. While they were mostly able to correctly answer questions about preferred foods and holiday destinations, when it came to questions about end-of-life treatments they were less sure.
Interviewees were confronted with tough hypothetical treatment decisions for their loved ones including whether they would accept tube feeding following a stroke or extend their cancer treatment if it meant never leaving hospital.
This discrepancy is backed up by research that shows that the people closest to us often don't know our end-of-life wishes unless we expressly have the conversation or write our preferences in an Advance Care Directive.
"We created this video to shine a light on the fact that even with those closest to us, it is wrong to assume they would know our preferences for end-of-life care," explains ACPA Program Director, Linda Nolte.
"While the questions posed in the video may seem confronting, these real-life scenarios play out every day in hospitals across Australia. It's a terrible burden for families to bear having to blindly make life and death decisions, without knowing their loved one's preferences. A simple discussion today can save a lot of heartache tomorrow.
"Despite legislative and policy support for advance care planning across Australia, public understanding and uptake remains low. People need to know that a loving relationship is no substitute for advance care planning. The person closest to you may not be the best choice to make decisions for you if you become too unwell to speak for yourself.
"With National Advance Care Planning Week coming up, it's an opportunity for all of us to consider our future medical care, whether it's attending an event or having a chat with loved ones. I urge all Australians to join us and find out more," says Ms Nolte.
National Advance Care Planning Week will be held 23 - 27 March 2020.
What is advance care planning?
Advance care planning promotes care that is consistent with your goals, values, beliefs and preferences. It prepares you and others to plan for future health care and a time when you may no longer be able to communicate those decisions yourself.
What is an Advance Care Directive (ACD)?
An Advance Care Directive is a written record of your preferences for future care. The Directive can record your values, life goals and preferred outcomes, or directions about care and treatments. Advance Care Directives can also formally appoint a substitute decision-maker.
· Almost 50% of people will not be able to make their own end-of-life medical decisions.
· Less than 15% of Australians have documented their preferences in an Advance Care Directive (ACD). (30% of people aged 65+ have an ACD)
· A third of Australians will die before the age of 75.
· Most people die after a chronic illness, not a sudden event3.
· Research shows that advance care planning can reduce anxiety, depression and stress experienced by families and that they're more likely to be satisfied with their loved one's care.
About Advance Care Planning Australia
Advance Care Planning Australia (ACPA) is a national program funded by the Australian Government, Department of Health, enabling Australians to make the best choices for their life and health care.
ACPA increases advance care planning resources across health sectors and NGOs, improves workforce capability, produces information resources for diverse consumers and communities, and builds the evidence base.