Life’s better with a plan: why advance care planning is important for your future health care

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Lynette is no stranger to planning – whether it be researching the cheapest holiday package or trawling catalogues to find the best bargains, there’s nothing she enjoys more than putting that skill to use.

However, when Lynette* was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in 2021, her focus shifted to planning of a different kind. After speaking with her GP, she learned about advance care planning (ACP) for her future health care.

While it was difficult to start the conversation with her loved ones, Lynette recognised the importance of having conversations and documenting her health care preferences. It would mean that if needed, Lynette’s own words would guide the people responsible for making decisions about her health care.

“I want to be in control of my life, especially if I’m unable to communicate for myself,” says Lynette. “I recognise now that advance care planning is an important, routine part of my health care. It means health care professionals know exactly what I want if I ever end up in the hospital and I am unable to communicate my wishes.”

After having a discussion with her husband and children and making decisions, Lynette documented her views, wishes and preferences for care in the Statement of Choices. She also completed an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA), appointing her husband as her substitute decision-maker.

Lynette was also encouraged by her GP to send copies of her completed ACP documents to the Statewide Office of Advance Care Planning. This is a free Queensland Health service that reviews ACP documents for completeness then uploads them to the person’s Queensland Health electronic medical record. Doctors, nurses, paramedics, and other authorised health professionals can then easily access ACP documents when needed.

"It sounds a bit daunting, but what’s more daunting is leaving your family and doctors and nurses in the dark about what your health care preferences are,” says Lynette. “Now that my preferences are documented and uploaded to my Queensland Health electronic medical record, I am confident that health care professionals can access my information quickly and provide the type of care that aligns with my wishes.”

“It’s one less thing for my family to worry about and I am happy about that.”

The Public Trustee of Queensland, Samay Zhouand, said making an EPA is vital for all Queenslanders.

"Lynette’s story demonstrates the importance of advance care planning, not only for her peace of mind, but for her loved ones too.”

"Unfortunately, it's a fact of life that many of us will lose capacity as a consequence of longevity and no one can make financial decisions on your behalf unless they are appointed as your attorney.”

Start planning for your future health care this month during National Advance Care Planning Week, 18-24 March 2024.

Life’s better with a plan, and that includes a plan for your future health care.

Order a free ACP information pack and learn more at

What is advance care planning?

Advance care planning involves thinking about and making choices now, to guide your future health care. It is a process of discussing and documenting your views, wishes and preferences for care with your loved ones and health care providers.

Why should you plan ahead?

Planning ahead can help to ensure:

  • the treatment and care you receive in the future aligns with your wishes,
  • your loved ones won’t have to make difficult decisions on your behalf without knowing what you would have wanted,
  • your words guide those making decisions about your health care when you can’t speak for yourself.

Even if you are fit and healthy, it is never too early to plan your future health care.

Planning ahead can mean:

  • discussing your health care and quality of life choices with those closest to you, and
  • choosing and appointing your Attorney(s), and/or
  • completing an Advance Health Directive, and/or
  • writing down your views, wishes and preferences for care in a Statement of Choices.

What does the Statewide Office of Advance Care Planning do?

The Office receives copies of ACP documents from all care environments in Queensland.

Documents are reviewed to ensure they are complete and effective and then uploaded to the person’s Queensland Health electronic medical record.

This is a free and confidential service for all Queenslanders, provided by Queensland Health. ACP documents are free to download, or a hard copy information pack can be mailed to you.


Phone: 1300 007 227 (Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 4:00pm)

*Case study illustrating the value and benefits of ACP drawn from multiple individuals.

Last published: 15/04/2024 11:21:12 PM