Knowing their mum would be cared for the way she wanted was why siblings Valentine and Trish Brown started a conversation about Advance Care Planning.
Their mum, Angela Ballangarry, 78, is healthy but the family chose to sit down together to document her future healthcare wishes.
Mr Brown, a West Moreton Health Social and Wellbeing Officer, said that, having worked in the health sector, and with dementia patients, he knew the importance of planning ahead.
"Mum thought it was a good idea and we went ahead and got the ball rolling."
Mr Brown said National Advance Care Planning Week, from 20-26 March 2023, was a reminder of the importance of documenting family members' healthcare wishes and encouraged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members to take part. "It is important for our community, particularly those who are at risk or who have chronic conditions."
Mr Brown said he often spoke to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members in their homes about Advance Care Planning.
"I go through the process and explain what an Advance Care Planning document is and the advantage of coming on board. I explain how it works in their favour and go through any questions so they do not get deterred and there are no surprises."
Mr Brown then worked with Advance Care Planning Clinical Nurses Ros Holloway and Clarita “Lulu” Lauron to ensure the paperwork was signed.
Ms Holloway and Ms Lauron are experienced in palliative, cancer and chronic health conditions care and provide face-to-face appointments to help people complete their ACP documents.
These documents include an Advance Health Directive, Enduring Power of Attorney and a Statement of Choices. Appointments are conducted in the Ipswich Health Plaza or at homes, hospitals or residential aged care facilities.
Ms Holloway said timeframes for the appointments were tailored to individual needs, allowing time for discussion and explanation of what was sometimes a complex and challenging decision.
People can review their documents at any time.
Ms Holloway said it was important to have discussions now about the type of care you, or a family member, might want in the future.
"It is a simple process that starts with a conversation. Your thoughts and directives are written down, it is signed by your doctor, witnessed by a JP, checked by the Queensland State Office of Advance Care Planning and uploaded into your health records. Then you go on with everyday life."
Since 2016, WMH has sent 10,919 documents to the Queensland State Office of Advance Care Planning.
If you have any questions, talk to your GP, or visit https://www.westmoreton.health.qld.gov.au/node/652, https://metrosouth.health.qld.gov.au/acp or https://www.qld.gov.au/health/support/end-of-life.
You can email the WMH ACP team at WM-ACP@health.qld.gov.au.