Advance care planning (ACP) is the process of a person thinking about and communicating to others their values and wishes about possible future care at a time when they still have capacity. ACP is relevant for everyone in the community, but especially for people with chronic health conditions or at risk of losing capacity from illnesses such as dementia.
Consumers report many barriers to undertaking ACP. It is not a routine part of healthcare practices and there is a reluctance to have open discussion about death and dying within the general community. The laws and regulations around ACP vary between States/Territories and are often inconsistent and confusing, even for legal and health professionals If ACP does occur, this is not always followed through in the way end-of-life decisions are made within the healthcare setting.
In response to these barriers, the Dementia Consumer Research Network within Alzheimer’s Australia funded a project to develop a nationally-focused website and campaign to promote advance care planning and other aspects of planning ahead. The campaign and website is called Start2Talk.
While there are a number of websites related to planning ahead available, there are aspects of this new Start2Talk website that add value to existing resources.
• It uses a consumer-focused model that seeks to address the issues raised by consumers during extensive consultations.
• It moves beyond providing information to include a number of worksheets that promote communication and help users take action related to planning ahead.
• It includes the ability for users to register with the website and store their worksheets online if they want to.
• While not being restricted to persons with dementia, it has sections that are clearly focused on people with dementia and their families.
•It has comprehensive information and links relevant for all States and Territories as well as a section for health and community care professionals.
• The website is being widely promoted through collaborations with a number
This new website is a practical and comprehensive resource for members of the community across Australia who are interested in planning ahead as well as people with dementia and their families. It can be found here.
Start2Talk – introduction by Ita Buttrose, Alzheimer’s Australia National President, on YouTube