Advance Care Planning Seminar kicks off in Melbourne

a room full of people raising their hands towards a trainer in a seminar

More than 200 health care leaders across Victoria met today at the Victorian Advance Care Planning Seminar at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne.

The one-day seminar was attended by advance care planning leaders in palliative care, primary care, hospitals and aged care.

Hosted by Advance Care Planning Australia (ACPA), the event was delivered in partnership with key Victorian stakeholders; the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the Office of the Public Advocate.

Speakers included prominent medical experts including leading intensive care specialist and author, Dr Charlie Corke, and oncologist and columnist, Dr Ranjana Srivistava.  Legal, research and aged care experts were also included in the speaker line-up and the DHHS presented their advance care planning evaluation findings.

“The landscape for end-of-life care and advance care planning in Victoria continues to evolve. This is in response to changing community attitudes and expectations, as well as recent legislative changes including the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act, which came into effect in in June, and the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act in 2018,” said Dr Karen Detering, Medical Director of ACPA.

“Now more than ever, it is critical that organisations in the health and aged care sector have right policies and processes in place to ensure more Victorians receive the care that they want, should they became too unwell to make their own decisions – which we know happens to around 50% of people at the end of their life.

“If we are to succeed in increasing community uptake of advance care planning, health and aged care providers will require more support and education to ensure advance care planning is well-coordinated, delivered respectfully and within legal frameworks.

“Today is a great opportunity for colleagues across the health sector, to share knowledge and expertise. Ultimately it’s about making patient choice a priority and ensuring more Victorians remain in control of their own treatment decisions, no matter what the future brings,” commented Dr Detering.

ACPA is funded by the Australian Government as the national authority on advance care planning. The organisation engages with the general public and supports healthcare professionals to ensure an individual’s values and medical care preferences are heard and respected.