An advisory committee for ethical issues in healthcare supports the National Advance Care Planning Cooperative’s national awareness day, Conversations that Count.

Finding time to have a sometimes difficult conversation with loved ones is the goal of a national awareness day called Conversations that Count.

The day is the work of the National Advance Care Planning Cooperative - and the National Ethics Advisory Committee is supporting what is the second year of the initiative.

The committee provides independent advice to the Minister of Health on ethical issues related to health and disability research and services.

Committee Chair Victoria Hinson says the Conversations that Count day is a reminder to make sure our loved ones know what is important to us and how this might impact on our health and our future healthcare. It’s helpful for others to know what we would want if we are unable to make decisions for ourselves.

Understandably many people think that these conversations can wait till they’re nearing the end of their life.

But sometimes we can leave it too late, so it’s a good idea for adults of any age to talk about their wishes. She says it is often the hardest conversations that end up being the most worthwhile.

Advance care planning is a useful process for that conversation, as it provides a prompt for some of the things that are important for us to discuss with our loved ones.

Last year the Committee published practical advice for health professionals on the ethical challenges in advance care planning - such as when to start having the conversation and how to interpret an advance care plan. The advice is available on NEAC's website: Ethical Challenges in Advance Care Planning

For more information about advance care planning, check out the Advance Care Planning website. And for more information about Conversations that Count and what you can do to help start a conversation, visit the Conversations That Count website.