Love is not enough for end-of-life decisions

husband and wife interview

Advance Care Planning Australia has launched a ground breaking new video, challenging the commonly held perception that a loving relationship is all you need to ensure your end-of life wishes will be met. 

The launch of the video is timed to stimulate interest and discussion in the lead up to the third annual, National Advance Care Planning Week, 23 – 27 March, an initiative led by Advance Care Planning Australia (ACPA), with funding from the Australian Government.

Produced by the award-winning Creativa video production agency, the Love is Not Enough video introduces two couples and one father and daughter, testing how well they know their loved one. While they were mostly able to correctly answer questions about preferred foods and holiday destinations, when it came to questions about end-of-life treatments they were less sure. 

Interviewees were confronted with tough hypothetical treatment decisions for their loved ones including whether they would accept tube feeding following a stroke or extend their cancer treatment if it meant never leaving hospital.

This discrepancy is backed up by research that shows that the people closest to us often don’t know our end-of-life wishes unless we expressly have the conversation or write our preferences in an Advance Care Directive.

“We created this video to shine a light on the fact that even with those closest to us, it is wrong to assume they would know our preferences for end-of-life care,” explains ACPA Program Director, Linda Nolte. 

“While the questions posed in the video may seem confronting, these real-life scenarios play out every day in hospitals across Australia. It’s a terrible burden for families to bear having to blindly make life and death decisions, without knowing their loved one’s preferences. A simple discussion today can save a lot of heartache tomorrow.

“Despite legislative and policy support for advance care planning across Australia, public understanding and uptake remains low. People need to know that a loving relationship is no substitute for advance care planning. The person closest to you may not be the best choice to make decisions for you if you become too unwell to speak for yourself. 

“With National Advance Care Planning Week coming up, it’s an opportunity for all of us to consider our future medical care, whether it’s attending an event or having a chat with loved ones. I urge all Australians to join us and find out more,” says Ms Nolte. 

National Advance Care Planning Week will be held 23 - 27 March 2020. 

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