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AMA Victoria hosts first session to determine models for Advance Care Directives and End-of-Life Planning

Thursday 29 August 2013

Approximately 134,000 people die each year in Australia – of which half are expected deaths. In 2008, 50 per cent of people who died had chronic diseases that would benefit from improved end-of-life care (1).

Despite 90 per cent of people saying they want to die at home, only 16-27 per cent of patients are allowed that choice, and 56 per cent die in hospital (2) . Many of these ‘deaths with strangers’ can be avoided.

With an ageing population looming, “it is time to address the shortfalls in end-of-life care and planning” AMA Victoria President Dr Stephen Parnis said today.

On Friday 30 August, AMA Victoria will host its first roundtable on Advance Care Directives in order to determine an ideal model for end-of-life planning.

Chaired by Professor Richard Larkins, AO, AMA Victoria will host three roundtables which will cover several key areas associated with Advance Care Planning, including:

  • Models for palliative care Advance Care Directives in the final stages of terminal illness;
  • An ideal model for care in emergency settings.

Advance Care Directives allow patients who understand the implications of their choices to state in advance how they wish to be treated when they are no longer capable of making their own health care decisions.

The AMA believes that, with an ageing population and the incidence of chronic disease, more people want the ability to record in advance their views on their future health care.

AMA’s roundtable sessions will discuss some of the current problems in end-of-life care and determine possible solutions which will benefit patients and their families.

“People should be able to make advance directives about current and future medical conditions. This would help to ensure that patients’ wishes as to end of life care and treatment are followed in the event that they are no longer able to express them” Dr Parnis said.

Current law in Victoria only allows for advance refusal of treatment (through a refusal of treatment certificate) and is effective only to the extent that it allows for a complete refusal of treatment, in relation to a current condition (3).

Media Contact
Felicity Ryan
Australian Medical Association Victoria
Media & Public Affairs
Telephone: (03) 9280 8753
Mobile: 0437 450 506

(1) ABS 2009
(2) Walton, M 2010, “Can We Afford to Keep People Alive”, Sydney Morning Herald, 28 July.
(3) Medical Treatment Act 1988 (Vic).

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