Why did you join ACPA as a volunteer community ambassador?
My experience in health care led me to become an advocate for advance care planning. I had developed an interest in patient rights, particularly the right of those receiving care to participate in decision making about their medical treatment and health care.
I had also observed the significant difficulties encountered by health professionals when medical decisions had to be made in the absence of information about the wishes of the person they were caring for. When I retired had time to contribute something and believed that my experience in health care and in education could be useful.
What kind of activities do you do in your role as a volunteer community ambassador?
I participate in the telephone advisory service, responding to callers seeking information about advance care planning or support. The callers may be considering advance care planning for themselves, for family members or friends, or they may be health care workers seeking clarification or further information.
I am also part of a small group of community ambassadors who deliver presentations about advance care planning to community groups or to health professionals.
If you are retired, what did you do professionally before volunteering with ACPA?
I worked as a nurse in clinical practice for many years before moving to nurse education. My interest in law and ethics meant my practice extended to the education of health care workers at many levels and in a number of different disciplines.
How has your professional and /or life experience prepared you for your work with ACPA?
Background knowledge of the legal framework for health care has been useful when answering queries about advance care planning, both at community presentations, and when participating in the telephone advisory service. Experience in education, and in the public speaking associated with tertiary education has been invaluable when presenting information about advance care planning to diverse groups.
What makes you a good ACPA volunteer community ambassador?
I would like to think having a passion for advance care planning plays a part.
What do you enjoy most about being part of the ACPA team?
Possibly working with others who share the same passion.
What have you learned in your time with ACPA?
I've learned how great the need is for information about advance care planning, both in the general community and amongst health care workers at all levels. I've also gained knowledge of the relevant law in other states and just how much variation there is.
What are some of the common questions you receive from people about advance care planning?
Does the doctor have to do what you want? What do I do with it now I’ve completed an advance care plan? Does my advance care plan apply in other states?
What are some of the common myths and misunderstandings about advance care planning?
The belief that simply saying that you do not want CPR is advance care planning. This has even been seen amongst workers in some aged care facilities. And also the belief that advance care planning simply involves making a list of procedures that you do not consent to.