Friday, December 21, 2012

Season's Greetings

Please click on the below image to see our Christmas Greetings

Consumer Representatives 2012 End of Year Celebration

What a year it has been! The HCCA Consumer Representatives Program (CRP) commemorated the successes of the program and the Consumer Representatives who have worked tirelessly throughout the year with an end of year celebration on Wednesday 12 December 2012 at the sunny Griffith Neighbourhood Hall. We were lucky to share the day with many of our colleagues and friends. 

Consumer Representatives who were sponsored by HCCA to attend a conference during the year were given the opportunity to make a brief presentation of the most interesting points they learned at their event and answer questions from the audience. Throughout the year, HCCA sponsored 22 different Consumer Representatives to attend 12 events to improve their ability to represent consumers in their field of interest.
As a result of our CRP Review, the membership of the CRP Steering Committee has changed. HCCA thanked the outgoing Steering Committee for their dedication to the committee and their integral role in developing the CRP over the years. The outgoing Steering Committee have made 59 endorsements of Consumer Representatives to committees this year, as well as helping us shape the CRP through the development of organisational policy. They have met every challenge with rationality and a great sense of humour and we would like to thank them for their time and commitment to improving our CRP. The new CRP Steering Committee members were introduced and we look forward to working with them in the coming year.

Bill Heins made a presentation to remind us all that change happens slowly, and that we can all make a difference with perseverance and passion. To wrap up the formalities of the day, Roger Killeen presented light-hearted awards to Consumer Representatives for their commitment to ensure the consumer voice is heard and heeded within the health system here in the ACT. 

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have been involved in the Consumer Representatives Program over the year for the many emails, phone conversations, meetings and passing comments that have helped the program grow over 2012. We look forward to working with you all to meet the challenges of 2013 and wish you all safe holidays and a very happy new year.

Caitlin Stamford 
Consumer Representatives Program Assistant 

Advance Care Planning

On Tuesday 20 November 2012, HCCA was host to an information session run by Respecting Patient Choices to promote the importance of Advanced Care Planning in the ACT. The session covered why advanced care planning is vital to protect our wishes, how an Advanced Care Plan can do this and how to properly complete an Advanced Care Plan. 

In the ACT, the Respecting Patient Choices Program encourages discussion among loved ones, rather than focusing on ticking boxes on paper. Advanced care can often be a difficult subject to raise but it is vital we discuss our wishes with our loved ones to alleviate the stress and pain of having to make choices about our healthcare if they are unsure of our wishes. End of life and medical emergencies can be a time of crises for our family and friends and can cause conflict. An Advanced Care Plan can help relieve this strain on them and the health professionals who make decisions about our care. 

Having a voice in our own health care throughout our life is an important step to being in control of the care we receive. In the ACT, the Advanced Care Plan allows us to record our wishes should there be a time where we are unable to communicate them effectively to those around us. The Advanced Care Plan allows for three different ways to communicate how we would like to be treated: the Enduring Power of Attorney, the Statement of Choices and the Health Direction. 

An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint another person or persons to make decisions on your behalf. An attorney can be anyone over the age of 18. In the ACT, there are different types of EPA and you can allocate different people to those roles. For example, you may want a different attorney for your financial interests than your attorney for your medical interests. It is important to choose someone you trust to carry out your wishes as this document will give them the power to speak on your behalf. 

Communication between you and your attorney/s is vital to ensure everyone is aware of what you want. A Statement of Choices (competent person / incompetent person) is a useful record of your particular wishes in certain situations. This document allows for more detail than the Enduring Power of Attorney, and although it is not legally binding it can be a very useful guide for your EPA when choosing what type of care you will receive if you are unable to communicate. When completing a Statement of Choices it is important to communicate clearly when you would like to receive or not receive particular treatment. For example, ‘I would like to receive CPR if I will be able to speak to others when I wake up’ is a much clearer direction then ‘I would like to receive CPR if I will be able to go back to the way I was’. 

A Health Direction is a legally binding document used when you are still competent and able to communicate to legally cease treatment.    

Regardless of your views on the care you wish to receive, it is vital to communicate them to those around you. The Advanced Care Plan in the ACT allows you to do this effectively and in a legally binding manner and encourages discussion between you and those who will be ultimately responsible for your health care.

If you would like more information about Advance Care Planning, visit the Respecting Patient Choices Website. 

Caitlin Stamford
Consumer Representatives Program Assistant