National Seniors’ advocate joins advance care campaign

National Seniors Australia Chief Advocate Ian Henschke has become an ambassador for National Advance Care Planning Week to be held from 16 to 22 April.

The week is an initiative of Advance Care Planning Australia, which is funded by the Federal Government.

Mr Henschke, a former ABC broadcaster and South Australian identity, joins the ranks of ambassadors, including clinical experts, researchers, authors and consumer advocacy leaders, who together are raising awareness of the need for people to make their future health care preferences known.

Following the death of his brother Richard, and with his other brothers, Philip and Mark who both have a background in medicine, Ian recognises the importance and benefits of advance care planning. He is keen to ensure more Australians increase their understanding and uptake of advance care planning and that more senior Australians take a more active role in their future health care.

“I can think of no better way to honour Richie’s memory than to support this initiative. While our family still mourns losing Richie last year, we are relieved that he had a good death,” explained Ian.

“Richie had the foresight to have an advance care directive in place, which he developed with our brothers, Philip and Mark. I can’t thank Philip and Mark enough for helping Richie through the process of clarifying his values and articulating what he wanted. It brought the entire family together and gave us peace of mind at a difficult time.” 

Medical Director of Advance Care Planning Australia, Dr Karen Detering, said she was delighted to welcome Ian as a National Advance Care Planning Week ambassador.

“Advance care planning is not just a medical issue - it’s a family issue and a community issue,” Dr Detering said. “It affects all of us.

“Ian’s personal story, coupled with his background in broadcasting and senior’s advocacy, helps to broaden our reach, raise awareness and underscores the family impact of advance care planning.”

To date, more than 30 community groups and health organisations across Australia have signed up to host an event as part of National Advance Care Planning Week, starting an important conversation in their community about making their future health care preferences known.

National Advance Care Planning Week is an initiative of Advance Care Planning Australia.

To read about Richie’s ‘good death’, click here.

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