A new campaign Kia kōrero | Let’s talk encourages people to plan for their future health care, with a focus on what matters to them. It features the personal stories of six New Zealanders at different stages of life and wellness.
The campaign is part of the advance care planning programme managed by the Health Quality & Safety Commission and supported by district health boards. "An advance care plan tells your loved ones and health care teams about the treatment and care you want so treatment plans can support what is important to you," says Ria Earp, chair of the Commission’s Te Rōpū Māori (Māori advisory group).
"When a patient has an advance care plan, knowing their values and what is important to them can make their treatment approach clearer and easier to follow. It is very important that we maintain a patient’s integrity and mana when we make plans for their future."
The campaign begins with the story of Arthur Te Anini, who has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Arthur says having an advance care plan is a huge relief to him, and he now feels he can get on with his life and not have to worry about things. "This is my plan, it’s been designed by me – not by the doctors, not by my children, but by me."
Well-known poet, writer and advocate of Māori arts, culture and political rights Keri Kaa shares her thoughts about what is most important to her, as her life draws to a close. "I never thought that being cared for by home people would be important," she says, "but it is."
Equally engaging and moving are the stories of Pusi and Sima Urale, Cheryl Cameron, Noel Tiano, and Clive Aspin and his partner Terry. They all have one thing in common – a commitment to be clear about their future health care, and to share this understanding with those who need to know. The campaign features videos of all the personal stories, and will be run primarily on social media. Videos and visuals will be subtitled in te reo Māori, Samoan and Tongan. Commission chief executive Dr Janice Wilson says that, ultimately, the campaign is about good communication between individuals, their loved ones and health professionals.
"Advance care planning emphasises the value of having open and courageous conversations early. That might include who you want with you when you are very ill, how much treatment you would like and types of treatment you would prefer not to have, and who can make decisions on your behalf if you’re not able to. This makes it much easier for everyone to know what matters to you – especially if you can no longer speak for yourself."
The focus on advance care planning day, held on 5 April 2019, is encouraging people to start making an advance care plan. Watch Arthur's story, Keri Kaa's and others here. Complete your advance care plan online at www.myacp.org.nz.