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National Advance Care Planning Week – Cuppa and Cake in Wagga

Amaranth Community Care is encouraging people to become part of the conversation about the need to discuss future healthcare preferences at a morning tea as part of Australia’s first National Advance Care Planning Week.

To be held at its Health and Wellbeing Centre, 46 Peter Street, Wagga Wagga from 10.30am on Monday, 16 April, the event will also give people the opportunity to find out more about the services offered by Amaranth Community Care.

Servicing communities within an hour’s drive of its premises in Wagga Wagga and Corowa, Amaranth provides social work and counselling services, and is a registered provider of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and My Aged Care.

Amaranth founder and CEO, Julianne Whyte OAM, said people needed to discuss their future healthcare preferences with the people who are close to or care for them.

“When the time comes that we might not be able to speak for ourselves it is imperative that we have communicated what we want in terms of the decisions we want them to make. We’re giving people the chance to start that conversation over a cuppa and cake,” Ms Whyte said.

An initiative of Austin Health and funded by the Australian Government Department of Health, Advance Care Planning Australia offers resources to enable Australians to make the best choices for their life and health care.

“Research shows around half of Australians will not be able to make their own end-of-life medical decisions and 85% of people die after a chronic illness and not a sudden event,” Ms Whyte said.

Ms Whyte said the experience of clients accessing Amaranth’s services provided by Mental Health Accredited Social Workers and other allied health professionals affirmed Advance Care Planning Australia’s findings that that advance care planning can help alleviate stress for people who find themselves asked to make medical decisions for loved ones in need.

“When families or others who care for someone with a chronic, serious or life-limiting illness don’t have that information it can be difficult, but our unique model of wrap around care focuses on a person’s needs from the initial stage of diagnosis or in the final stages of their life.

“It empowers people in their life decisions and in how they choose to die, but if we have those conversations earlier, it can ease the burden for all.

“We would love people to come in and in a relaxed setting at least take that first step toward ensuring their wishes are known and that those wishes not only take into account their physical but their mental wellbeing which often doesn’t even come into the healthcare equation for older people,” Ms Whyte said.

Ms Whyte said that gap had been highlighted in clinical social worker, Felicity Chapman’s new publication, Counselling and Psychotherapy with Older People in Care.

Invited to introduce Ms Chapman at the South Australian Branch of the Australian Association of Social Workers conference on World Social Work Day in Adelaide recently, Ms Whyte also contributed to the foreword of the book.

“I quoted the work of Dame Cicely Saunders, nurse, physician and founder of the modern hospice movement who once said, ‘You matter because you are you, and you matter to the end of your life. We will do all we can not only to help you die peacefully, but also to live until you die …’ and Felicity’s work puts life into these words.”

Ms Whyte said at the heart of the work was the belief that older people in care still have much to teach and share and deserve to be provided with opportunities to work through a variety of psychological issues.

“While we now have the National Insurance Disability Scheme (NDIS) and My Aged Care which Amaranth can provide services under, it’s imperative that we have a more nuanced approach and this is where the expertise and practice of Mental Health Accredited Social Workers fits in to support the growing demographic of older people,” she said.

Read more about Felicity Chapman here http://www.yourstoryline.com.au/

Further information about National Advance Care Planning Week is at https://www.advancecareplanning.org.au/acpweek

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