Focus Topics

topic 2 | Activity 14: Advance care planning conversations

An advance care plan allows a person and their family to make decisions about future medical treatment and other care while they are still competent and able to communicate their wishes. Advance care plans are helpful for everyone – patient, family, community and the healthcare team. When someone has a clear plan for how they want to be cared for, the end-of-life experience is better.

The benefits of advance care planning are:

  • The person continues to have a say in their healthcare even if they’re too sick to speak for themselves
  • The person will have peace of mind, knowing that they are more likely to receive the medical treatment and other care that they want, and not receive the treatment that they don’t want
  • Family and friends are relieved of the burden of having to make decisions without knowing what the person would have wanted
  • Talking about these things can help to strengthen the relationships that people have with their family and friends.1

Key Video Resource – Finishing Up: Advance Care Plans on Groote Eylandt (16:12)

This video resource tells the story of how the Anindilyakwa people of Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory have embraced advance care planning, supported by local healthcare professionals who have worked with them in a culturally safe and responsive way.

Check the thinking points below for some questions to consider with regard to this video.

  1. Review the video, ‘Finishing up – Advance Care Plans on Groote Eylandt’ and reflect on the approach of healthcare staff:
    • What words do they use to talk about dying and death?
    • How do they describe advance care planning?
    • What are the important concepts that are explained?
    • How do they show respect and cultural-responsiveness during this interaction? (Tip: you might find it helpful to go to Activity 12 to refresh your knowledge of key communication principles.)
    • What kind of experience does this appear to be for the person and family involved?
  1. Advance Care Planning Australia. Advance care planning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 2021; Available from: