Advance Care Plans - Arthur's story
By Advance Care Planning
Arthur Te Anini is 67 and has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD.
The South Auckland resident has put an advance care plan in place so his family knows what sort of care he would like to have if he becomes ill and cannot communicate.
“COPD is an umbrella term for emphysema, chronic bronchitis and chronic asthma, usually caused by smoking, which I know will limit my life,” he said.
“I heard about advance care planning and how it could ensure what matters to me is passed on to my loved ones in case I cannot communicate with them.”
Arthur Te Anini says he's relieved he's put an advance care plan in place
He was getting worried about what would happen because of his health.
“I thought if I keel over, the family will have to pick up the pieces and they won’t know what to do.
“I thought it was a great idea to create an advance care plan so the family knew what I wished for myself.”
An advance care plan is an opportunity for a person to make sure their preferences for care in the future and when they are dying, are taken into consideration.
It differs from an advance directive, which is more specific and focuses on ‘consent of refusal to specific treatments which may or may not be offered in the future when the person no longer has capacity’.
An advance directive can be part of an advance care plan, or may stand alone.
Being cared for
Arthur Te Anini has set down quite specific plans.
“For example, if, according to the doctors, prolonging my life would be futile, my advance care plan says I’d like them to just let me pass peacefully. I don’t want to use up resources or to be resuscitated.”
He says it is about much more than that though.
“It also tells those close to me I want people to talk about the old times and the good times. I’d like to hear familiar voices singing or talking. I’ve always thought that was a better way. Where I am doesn’t matter to me.”
Mr Te Anini says he discussed creating a plan with his children.
“I explained to them that they might have to make decisions on my behalf so they needed to know what was important to me.
“Now, they’re pleased I have my advance care plan and they can see what I would like to be done."
He says everyone who might care for him has access to it.
“Whether I’m at the doctors’ clinic or I go to hospital, if they need it, they can press a button and up it comes, but I can still change it at any time.”
Mr Te Anini says talking about it “isn’t the Māori way and quite a few Māori have heard about advance care plan and said ‘we don’t do that. You don’t go against tikanga’.”
He says he has talked about it with quite a few kuia and kāumatua when they get together for their ‘Better Breathing’ rehabilitation programme.
“Quite a lot of kuia and kāumatua come so I’m able to sit down with them one-on-one and talk to them about the benefits of an advance care plan.
“Some have come back and asked me questions, so I see that as a positive.
“I tell them it’s a huge relief to have done my advance care plan and to know that my whānau and doctors are aware of it.
"It means I’m now free to enjoy my life.”
Editor's note: Views expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the Office for Seniors.
Finding out more
Talk to your GP if you’d like to set up an advance care plan and you can find out more about it by checking out the website - www.advancecareplanning.org.nz/.
A public forum is being held on November 28 at the Ellerslie Event Centre in Auckland where you can learn more about making an advance care plan and go away with all you need to make your own plan.
MC for the evening is actor and comedian Mark Hadlow.
Speakers include Will Cairns, state-wide clinical lead for care at the end of life, Queensland and Dr Barry Snow, director of adult medical service, Auckland District Health Board and Advance Care Planning clinical lead.
It runs from 5pm to 7:30pm and costs $23 to attend.
To register, go to www.acpforum2016.com and select ‘Evening function only’.