COTA SA welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the Advance Care Directives Document Redesign Project.
COTA SA is committed to the continuous improvement of the Advance Care Directives (ACD) so that it becomes the robust, respected and accessible system by which all South Australians can record their directions in the event that they are not able to make a decision for themselves. At the moment ACDs are completed by about 10% of older South Australians. Feedback to COTA SA is that many people don’t know about ACDs, find them hard to use and discover they are not always triggered or respected as part of health care.
For many people an ACD is likely to be activated toward the end of life. Of about 13,000 deaths in SA each year, two thirds are people aged over 75.1 It is therefore especially important that older people know about ACDs and have every opportunity to record their directions. Once recorded, it will also be important that ongoing education targeting health professionals and the community ensure they are respected and that they direct decision-making as intended.
We look forward to increased investment in promoting awareness and availability of ACDs and in providing support and coaching for people to complete their own directive. In the past COTA SA has been funded to roll out both individual support and group presentations to older people all over SA using trained peer education volunteers. It was a very effective and highly valued program and could quite quickly be reactivated and delivered at scale.
As a first step, improving the form and the guide will assist in ACDs becoming scalable across the population including for older South Australians. This feedback relates to the document redesign.
Click below to read the full submission including comments on the form and guide.