Online tool for advance care planning

Alzheimer’s Australia has launched an interactive website to provide comprehensive information and a six-step plan for people wishing to prepare for their future healthcare, lifestyle and financial decisions.

Called Start2Talk, the site includes a number of worksheets along with access to information on advance care planning tailored to each state and territory.

Users can complete the worksheets online and save them to their computer, and to print them out to give to family and healthcare professionals.

Developed through Alzheimer’s Australia’s National Quality Dementia Care Initiative, Start2Talk is aimed at people with the early signs of memory loss or a diagnosis of dementia; the family or carers of people with loss of capacity; people who want to prepare for loss of capacity in the future; and health and community care professionals who want to promote planning ahead.

It has a number of worksheets that people can view and print out, or fill in online and save. If regulations and forms for a particular worksheet differ according to state and territory legislation, the website will ask users to indicate which state they are from and the appropriate information will be provided. There is also a separate section that includes the relevant state information.

Family members and carers can also use the site if the person is no longer capable for making their own decisions, and there is a healthcare professional section that also includes tools and resources for patients inquiring about advance care planning.

By registering online, users can fill in the forms online and save them if they are incomplete. They can then be printed out to provide to family or caregivers. Registered users can log in and change the detailers in the plan builder at any time, and final versions can then be given to the person's GP or residential aged care staff.

Start2Talk project manager Chris Shanley said the interactive nature of the website has the ability for users to register with the website to store their worksheets securely online so they can continue completing them at appropriate intervals.

Dr Shanley said it also offers the option of sending in personal stories on the topic of planning ahead and having questions and concerns answered, and that it is not just for people with progressive illnesses like dementia.

“Everyone is encouraged to use the website to plan ahead because you will never know when you may be in a position where other people will need to make decisions on your behalf,” he said.

For GPs, it includes a link to Alzheimer’s Australia's practitioner-focused Detect Early site, which has a tutorial on how to use the General Practitioner assessment of Cognition (GPCOG) screening tool as well as resources for pharmacists.

Posted in Aged Care

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