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Source: Health Quality and Safety Commission

Worried about COVID-19? In uncertain times it is better to plan than panic

30 Mar 2020 | Advance Care Planning

Aotearoa is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is an unsettling time, and it is natural for people to be anxious. However, it is also an opportunity for people to plan for a scenario where they may become suddenly unwell. They can do this by thinking about what matters most to them, their preferred medical treatment and choosing the person they wish to make their decisions, if they are not able to speak for themselves.

Research shows that families and whānau of people who have done advance care plans have less anxiety, depression and stress and are more satisfied with the care their loved ones receive.

We know that older New Zealanders are most at risk of serious illness as a result of COVID-19, particularly those with existing conditions such as lung and heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

For some people, planning now – whether or not your plan is needed – may offer a sense of control and reduce anxiety.

We recommend starting a conversation with your family, being clear about what you would want. These conversations can be challenging, but they are not harder than having the conversation in the emergency room with a loved one unable to speak. It is also a good time to clarify who is best placed to make your medical treatment decisions if you were to become suddenly unwell.

Having an advance care plan is a gift you can give your family to help them make decisions about your health care, if you are not able to.

You can start your advance care plan here.

Last updated 30/03/2020