Talking now ensures end of life wishes respected

People need to plan now so they can have a say about their future end of life care, an expert in advanced care planning said in the lead up to an Alzheimer’s Australia Vic’s Advance Care Planning seminar.

Associate Professor William Silvester, Director of the Respecting Patient Choices Program, a national health initiative on end of life health care, said that advance care planning enables people to make their medical treatment wishes known even when they have lost the ability to speak for themselves.  

“If people speak frankly with their family, carers and doctor about their beliefs, goals and preferences about end of life care they can then feel confident that their wishes are known and will be respected,” Associate Professor Silvester said.  

Associate Professor Silvester will today be speaking to more than 200 aged and community care workers, health professionals and family carers to advise them on how to encourage and carry out these sensitive discussions. The presentation is part of Alzheimer’s Australia Vic’s Dementia Education Services Evening Seminar Series.

“With proper training, health professionals and carers can gain the confidence and ability to have these difficult but vital conversations. This is the essence of advance care planning,” Associate Professor Silvester said.

“In my role as an intensive care specialist at the Austin Hospital, I regularly witness the very positive impact advance care planning has on a person’s end of life and also on their loved one’s after they have died.”  

“In a study we did at the Austin Hospital, published in the British Medical Journal last year, we found that advance care planning significantly reduced the incidence of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms in the surviving relatives of patients who died.”

Alzheimer’s Australia Vic is presenting the free Evening Education Seminar series throughout the year to inform and educate the community, families caring for a person with dementia, health professionals, aged care and community care workers.  

“As the peak body in Victoria for people living with dementia, their families and carers it is vital that we show leadership and provide these opportunities for timely education on important issues to assist all those impacted by dementia,” General Manager, Education Services, Alzheimer’s Australia Vic, Dr David Sykes said.  

“By providing these professional development seminars we aim to improve the overall quality of care available and to contribute to developing a world class dementia care system in Victoria.”  

For more information about Advanced Care Planning Programs in your community visit www.alzheimers.org.au.                                                                         


Associate Professor William Silvester is the Director of the Respecting Patient Choices Program, Medical Consultant DonateLife Victoria, and a senior Intensive care specialist at the Austin Hospital.    

In Victoria almost 81,000 people are living with dementia.

Alzheimer’s Australia Vic is the peak body and charity representing people with all forms of dementia in Victoria. As the peak body, we provide specialised dementia information, education and support services.

Call our National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 or visit https://vic.fightdementia.org.au

Media contact: Christine Bolt: 0400 004 553 / christine.bolt@dementia.org.au

Stephanie Puls 9816 5745 / 0427 757 434 / stephanie.puls@alzhemiers.org.au