Free workshops on how to plan in advance for medical treatment at the end of life are being hosted by Southern Cross University's Professor of Aged Services as part of NSW Seniors Week activities.
The workshops will be run by Professor Colleen Cartwright, Director of the Aged Services Learning and Research Collaboration, at SCU campuses in Coffs Harbour, Lismore and Tweed Gold Coast.
Professor Cartwright has developed an Advance Health Care Directive to help people decide in advance what medical treatment they want or don't want to receive in the event that they lose the capacity to decide for themselves, for example if they are seriously injured or terminally ill.
She said many older people appointed someone to have Enduring Power of Attorney, in case they could not manage their own financial affairs, but few thought about their health care.
"People often don't think about these things. They are nervous about contemplating end-of-life issues, but they need to think about it as an insurance policy. It gives them certainty that people will know their wishes and it takes away those difficult decisions from family members," Professor Cartwright said.
She said people could appoint an Enduring Guardian to make decisions for them and could also complete an Advance Health Care Directive, which set out what sort of care they did or did not want to receive and at what point medical intervention should stop.
"It gives people the choice to say, for example, that if they have a terminal illness and their heart stops that they do not want to be revived, or that they do not want to be put on a permanent ventilator," she said.
The workshops will include a presentation on the Advance Health Care Directives followed by an opportunity to complete the directive and an Enduring Guardian form.
The workshops are being held at:
SCU's Tweed Gold Coast campus, Brett Street, Wednesday April 5, 9.30am to 11.30am, room 2.24
Lismore campus, Thursday, April 6, 9.30am to 11.30am, Zest Restaurant
Coffs Harbour campus, Hogbin Drive, Friday, April 7, 11am to 1pm O Block lecture theatre
Bookings can be made by phoning Leanne Carpenter on 66593197.
Media contact: Brigid Veale SCU Communications Manager, 66593006 or 0439 680 748.