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The views and opinions expressed in our blog series are those of the authors and are not necessarily supported by CareSearch, Flinders University and/or the Australian Government Department of Health.
The Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health, the Hon. Ken Wyatt, officially launched the first National Advance Care Planning Week on Monday 16 April, kicking off the first of more than 100 awareness-raising events across the nation.
From a Men’s Shed event in Kalgoorlie to a morning tea at Alice Springs Hospital, the initiative sparked important conversations around Australia.
Around 50% of people will not be able to make their own end-of-life medical decisions, yet few people take the active steps required to enable control of their future health care. Typically Australians think about life and death as black and white, yet in reality there's an extended 'grey' period, with more of us living with ongoing health issues. The week challenged all Australians to start conversations with loved ones about what living well means to them.
In its inaugural year the initiative attracted significant media attention with coverage on Radio National, Herald Sun, the Border Mail, Daily Telegraph and Channel Nine News Melbourne to name a few.
The impact of the initiative was augmented by the support of our National Advance Care Planning Week ambassadors, who represent clinical experts, researchers, authors and peak body and policy leaders, Australia-wide.
Minister for Health the Hon. Greg Hunt MP commented that he was pleased that this important health initiative is garnering support across Australia and focussing attention on advance care planning - a concept not well understood by the general public, but a critical part of healthy ageing.
Advance Care Planning Australia’s Program Director, Linda Nolte said, "It was evident to me and others working in the sector, that people and families were not having important conversations about advance care planning," with regards to the impetus for starting the initiative.
“We’ve been delighted by the public and health care sector response to National Advance Care Planning Week and the coverage generated on social and traditional media. With over 100 events, it’s clear we’ve benefitted from strong support from the health care sector, and in particular we had significant interest and uptake from regional areas” said Linda.
For more information about advance care planning visit advancecareplanning.org.au
Linda Nolte, Program Director, Advance Care Planning Australia