Advance Care Planning
The Definition of Advance Care Planning
Advance care planning (ACP) is a process of communication between individuals and their healthcare agents to understand, reflect on, discuss and plan for future healthcare decisions for a time when individuals are not able to make their own healthcare decisions. This process can be facilitated by a specially trained health professional or can occur as part of routine care with the person’s usual health professionals.
The ACP process ideally results in the designation of a health care proxy, and in the creation of a written plan, commonly referred to as an advance directive, which accurately reflects the individual’s goals, values, and wishes about future healthcare. Since goals and medical treatment decisions may change over time, especially if overall health or if a person’s situation changes, planning needs to be reviewed. The types of planning may vary depending on whether the person is healthy, has mild to moderate chronic illness or is likely to die in next 12 months. ACP is therefore ongoing, and is subject to continual re-evaluation and possible updating, triggered by key health or life experiences.
Aims and Objectives
The passion of the people involved in Advance Care Planning; who come from a variety of backgrounds including specialist clinicians, general practitioners, nurses, social workers, allied health occupations, lawyers, to ensure that all the individuals they support have the appropriate care they have chosen at the end of their lives is reflected in the aims of the Society which are to:
- Spread best practice in Advance Care Planning throughout the international health and social care communities
- Support the development of country specific programmes to embed Advance Care Planning
- Provide regular opportunities to share experiences and hear from leading practitioners
- To provide a hub for like minded individuals to discover what is happening in the field and to interact and network
Why is Advance Care Planning so important?
Advance Care Planning is vital to ensure not only that each person we care for has their right to choose how they wish to be cared for as they approach the end of their life, whether they are able to communicate at that time or not; but also to health economies struggling with escalating health budgets and growing dissatisfaction from health consumers wishing to have more say in their health.
The International Society of Advance Care Planning (ACP-i) mission is to promote the universal adoption of Advance Care Planning (ACP) and patient-centered care to enable the delivery of quality end of life care taking into account each individual’s physical, psycho-emotional and spiritual care needs.
Membership of the ACP-i Society is open to all persons who are committed to all areas of advance care planning and end of life care including doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, policy-makers, researchers, medical officers and directors working in areas covering, but not exclusive to; end of life/palliative care, primary care, critical care, acute hospitals, care of the elderly, ethics and spirituality, policy development, social care, etc. find more information here.
Please find the most frequently asked questions about Advance care planning here.