Making future healthcare choices known ‘a gesture of love’

Monday, April 16, 2018

‘Advance Care Planning, or ACP, can be a great gesture of love to your family and close friends’, Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven said today.

This week is National Advance Care Planning Week (16–22 April), an international event being observed for the first time in Australia.

‘ACP is about people of any age making their healthcare wishes and choices known, and recording them, for any future scenario where they might be physically unable to speak for themselves’, Ms Verhoeven said.

‘This can be a great help in minimising stress for those being asked to make medical decisions on behalf of their loved ones.’

‘At AHHA we are pleased to join Advance Care Planning Australia in encouraging Australians of any age, regardless of health status, to discuss their values, preferences and goals for future healthcare with their close family and friends.’

‘It can be tough to talk about advance care planning, but sudden health events and emergencies can happen to young and fit as well as older people, where they are permanently or temporarily unable to speak for themselves.

‘If you eventually need someone to make healthcare decisions for you, they need to know what you would want and what you value most in life.’

‘Be open, be ready, be heard’ is the motto for National Advance Care Planning Week.

‘AHHA is sponsoring a celebration today of our many contributions to preparing health professionals to have these conversations’, Ms Verhoeven said.

‘The new End-of-Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC) website was released last week and provides paths to practical information for advance care planning.

‘As an ELDAC project partner we are proud to have developed the Primary Care toolkit component of the site, which leads healthcare workers and primary care teams through the various steps involved in supporting advance care planning with patients and their families.

‘Aged care workers, health professionals and support workers can also access AHHA’s free Palliative Care Online Training Portal, funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.

‘The Portal provides non-clinical interactive training covering the needs of people and their families as they approach end-of-life; assessment skills; end-of-life conversations; self-care and building resilience; pain management; and recognising deteriorating patients.

‘Over 40,000 people across Australia have undertaken this training and reported that it helped them provide better care in end-of-life situations.’


The National Advanced Care Planning Week website is at More information is available on the Advance Care Planning Australia website at

The ELDAC website can be found at The Palliative Care Online Training Portal is available at


For more information on the AHHA, visit

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association is the national peak body for public and not-for-profit hospitals, and community and primary healthcare services.

Media enquiries: Alison Verhoeven, Chief Executive, Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association, 0403 282 501