Life can be very unexpected and as such, it is important to be prepared for unpleasant surprises. Abigail Chay, a freelance actress, comedienne, teacher and show host from Singapore, recently held an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session about Advance Care Planning (ACP) on DoctorxDentist for readers to ask whatever they wanted to know.
She is an ambassador for Let's Talk Care, a Singapore-based campaign raising awareness about Advance Care Planning (ACP). Other than doing one for herself, she has also convinced her father to complete his ACP. Here are some key takeaways.
What is Advance Care Planning?
ACP can be described as a process that involves reflecting, recording, and sharing your care preferences with loved ones and healthcare professionals.
In the event that you lose your mental capacity or the ability to make decisions on your own, ACP can act as a safety measure. It helps cover the uncertainties and improve end-of-life experiences for both the patient and their families .
When should you make your first ACP arrangement?
Abigail says that anyone and everyone can commit to an ACP, as long as that person is of sound mind and is mature enough to understand life in general. In fact, she encourages people to consider doing theirs because it can be a very uplifting experience.
Don't worry, ACP arrangements can be updated
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As you move through life, your circumstances may change and many things can happen. Fortunately, you can review and update your ACP details at any time, even after your first submission. Your health status, personal details as well as minor errors can all be fine-tuned .
ACP documentation is usually stored by a facilitator
When you do your plan with a facilitator, your care preferences are documented in your healthcare records. If you decide to change anything, you can update your ACP by going through the same process of scheduling an appointment with a trained ACP facilitator .
What's the difference between ACP and a will?
The main difference is that ACP will take effect once the person loses the mental capacity to make his or her own decisions. A will, on the other hand, only takes effect after the person's death .
With ACP, medical aspects of your life will be taken care of if something unfortunate happens to you. This would help relieve the stress and burden of decision making placed on your loved ones.
There are 3 types of ACP
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- General ACP focuses on planning your care goals in situations where life-sustenance is involved, like a coma caused by a serious accident
- Disease-specific ACP focuses on treatment preferences for specific illnesses
- Preferred Plan of Care (PPC) ACP focuses on care goals regarding medical intervention in the event of a life-threatening crisis (CPR, ventilator use, place of care, place of death, etc.) .
Is ACP difficult to complete?
Creating an ACP really depends on how open you are in sharing your care preferences with the facilitator . Abigail notes that her ACP process was smooth, easy, and filled with laughter.
Costs for ACP facilitation may vary
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If ACP arrangements are made with a trained ACP facilitator, costs may vary according to each provider. While some charge, some do offer their services for free.
You can click to see a list of ACP providers that you may contact for more details about costing.
As the saying goes, better safe than sorry. If you are concerned about the future and wellbeing of your own health and the stress it could cause your loved ones, consider making an appointment with an ACP facilitator. Reduce the stress of decision-making on your family members and plan your future care in advance.
Abigail Chay is a freelance actress, comedienne, teacher and show host from Singapore. She is an ambassador for Let's Talk Care, a Singapore-based campaign raising awareness about Advance Care Planning (ACP). The campaign is run by four undergraduates from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University.
Would you like to ask any related health questions?
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2. How to Make a Plan. Livingmatters.sg. Accessed July 8, 2019.
3. How C, Koh L. Not that way: Advance Care Planning. Singapore Medical Journal. 2015;56(01):19-22. doi:10.11622/smedj.2015005
4. Living Matters - Advance Care Planning. Singhealth.com.sg. Accessed July 8, 2019.
5. Schickedanz AD, Schillinger D, Landefeld CS, Knight SJ, Williams BA, Sudore RL. A Clinical Framework for Improving the Advance Care Planning Process: Start with Patients’ Self-Identified Barriers. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2009;57(1):31-39. doi:10.1111/j.1532-5415.2008.02093.x