Planning ahead

There are a number of things that people may want to consider when planning ahead regarding legal, financial and health related decisions, for example: advance care planning, wills and enduring guardianship. It is important to be clear in communicating to ensure everyone understands the purpose of these formal documents, as some of them will only be relevant if the person loses capacity to make their own decisions. By planning ahead, the person is able to communicate what they may want if they were unable to tell anyone. This can also support the people that may be asked to make decisions for the person to feel more confident and comfortable if asked to make decisions for their loved one, and potentially decrease disagreements between family members.

While very little data is available, it is suggested that advance care planning is not often undertaken with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people [33065]. However, advance care planning may be a valuable process for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for a number of reasons, including the significance of connection to country, which may be a contributing factor to people wanting to pass on at home [26925].

Sensitive communication is an important component in planning ahead. The verbal and non-verbal cues used in these types of discussions should be considered, as planning ahead, may cause the person distress if they think they are about to pass on. It may be helpful beforehand to speak to an Aboriginal Health Worker or Hospital Liaison Officer, if possible. It is also valuable to note the non-verbal communication demonstrated by the family and community members who are present [21898].

It is important to remember that the terminology and legislation can be different between the states and territories, so it is best to double check if you are uncertain what applies in your location.


Key resources



Carried Lightly by Brian Robinson

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