Conversations that Count Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Media release from National Ethics Advisory Committee: Conversations that Count

An advisory committee for ethical issues in healthcare supports the National Advance Care Planning Cooperative's national awareness day, Conversations that Count.

The National Ethics Advisory Committee provides independent advice to the Minister of Health on ethical issues related to health and disability research and services.

Committee Chair Victoria Hinson says the Conversations that Count day is a reminder to make sure our loved ones know what is important to us and how this might impact on our health and our future healthcare.  

It's helpful for others to know what we would want if we are incapacitated and no longer able to make decisions for ourselves.

She says it is often the hardest conversations that end up being the most worthwhile.  

Advance care planning is a useful process for that conversation, as it provides a prompt for some of the things that are important for us to discuss with our loved ones.

Understandably many people think that these conversations can wait till they're nearing the end of their life.

But sometimes we can leave it too late, so it's a good idea for adults of any age to talk about their wishes.  

The Committee has talked to a range of health professionals about their experiences of the ethical challenges in advance care planning - such as when to start having the conversation and how to interpret an advance care plan.

The Committee has prepared practical advice for health professionals based on these discussions.  This advice is expected to be released shortly.