Frequently Asked Questions

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Why is an Advance Care Plan important?

Talking about death and dying is hard. For many families this does not happen until a loved one is very unwell or unable to communicate for themselves. Many people spend their last few hours unable to communicate their wishes with their family or health professionals. This means that a doctor must decide things like where a person dies and what treatments they receive, without knowing whether this is what a person would have wanted. An Advance Care Plan helps health professionals and your whanau understand what is important to you. It may also include the type of treatments that you do and do not want to receive, when you are no longer able to communicate for yourself. This eases the burden of family members having to struggle with hard choices at what is an already a difficult time.

I'm not dying. Why would I want to start thinking about Advance Care Planning?

Advance Care Planning conversations are important for all of us, not just people nearing the end of life. Thinking about and sharing what is important to you is important at any time in a person's adult life, even for younger people. Healthcare professionals are in a much better position to work with you to reach the outcomes you want if you are all aware of what you want and what is important to you. It's also very useful for your friends, family and health professionals to understand what is important to you in the event of an emergency or unexpected situation.

Will bringing up end of life care with someone who is unwell make them think I am giving up on them?

Having an Advance Care Planning conversation with your loved ones is not about giving up hope. It's about making sure that everyone has a common understanding of the person's wishes and preferences. Preferences like where a person would like to be cared for, who they want involved and what treatments a person would or would not want are important to talk about. This shared understanding is the key benefit of the Advance Care Planning process.

Is this just about planning my funeral?

Planning for the funeral that you want can be a part of your Advance Care Plan, but it is important to remember that it is about so much more than that. Advance Care Plans are about how you want to live the rest of your life and how you want to be cared for. It's about having a conversation with your friends, family and health professionals about what is important to you.

I'd like to promote this in my community. Where do I start?

Start by sending a postcard and telling people about it. Encourage your mates, girlfiends and work colleagues to start their own conversations. Like us on Facebook, and share our 'Conversations that Count' page with your friends. Think about putting up a poster in your tea room, local dairy, club or community hall. You might also like to encourage your local resident groups, service club, community groups and Marae to promote the day and have postcards and posters available.

How can I find postcards and posters?

You can find our eCards online here and posters here. We are encouraging postcards and posters to be distributed by District Health Boards. If you would like to order hard copies of the poster or postcards, these can be ordered from printwarehouse, by contacting and typing Conversations that Count in the subject line. You can call them on 0800 438 227. A minimum order size applies (10 posters or 600 postcards).

How do I go about putting a poster up in my community or workplace?

Speak to your line manager, community group liaison officer or shop proprietor before putting up a poster. In most cases, community groups and work places will be very happy to have posters visible on their premises, but appropriate permission needs to be sought first. If more information is requested prior to permission being granted, you can direct a person to

Is this just something I can do on April 16th?

It's a good idea to promote Conversations that Count Day well in advance of the 16th of April. We would like posters and postcards visible in the week prior to and following the 16th, however as our postcards are not dated, we hope that they will be useful throughout the year to help people to start a conversation.

So now we've started a conversation, where to from here?

For more information about Advance Care Planning or to find resources and copies of the ACP document, go to