April 3, 2020

The Inappropriate Question and the importance of Advance Care Planning

A film titled The Inappropriate Question, a collaboration between Dr Barbara Hayes, Clinical Lead, Northern Health Advance Care Planning Program and Prof Joe Ibrahim from the Prof Joe website was launched via live stream to coincide with Advance Care Planning Week. This film was funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.

View the film here:

This short animated film will help the community to better understand the important reasons why discussions about cardiopulmonary resuscitation need to be held with some of our hospital patients.

Speaking at the launch, Chief Executive, Siva Sivarajah said, “I strongly endorse the view that we partner with our patients when making medical treatment decisions and plans. When Barbara first discussed this project with me I was more than happy to support this initiative.”

“The film also reminds people about the importance of Advance Care planning – prior to become acutely unwell,” he added.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made these conversations even more essential.

A component of Advance Care planning can be writing an Advance Care Directive. This is your written instructions, preferences and values that guide medical treatment should you no longer be able to speak for yourself.

Speaking about  the film’s relevance to the current times, Dr Hayes said “Patients and their families can be surprised and upset when discussions about medical treatment limitations are raised, particularly the discussion about whether to provide or withhold CPR. However, we also know that patients, or their Medical Treatment Decision Makers expect to be consulted about medical treatment decisions, as required by law.

“How can we reconcile the need to speak with patients knowing that they might become upset by discussing difficult subjects?” asks Barbara.

“The aim of this film is to help people understand, before they become ill, and before admission to hospital, that these discussions might be expected. It encourages people to think about what would be important for them should they become seriously unwell, and to consider Advance Care planning. This avoids having to think about these issues for the very first time when feeling ill, scared and vulnerable. It also helps their Medical Treatment Decision Maker should they be required to make decisions for the patient. We hope you enjoy the film,” says Barbara.

Featured image shows Dr Barabara Hayes and Mr Sivarajah, at the launch of the film, observing social distancing.