Advance care planning is a routine part of a person’s healthcare.
Advance care planning refers to planning for future medical treatment and healthcare needs through the identification of goals of care. Many people do not like talking about end-of-life issues. Advance care planning is an ongoing process of reflection, discussion and communication that allows a person to make decisions about their future medical treatment and other care options, while they are still competent and able to communicate these wishes.
Advance care planning should commence early in the person’s illness, preferably at diagnosis, and should be a part of routine clinical care. Early discussion is important so that the person’s wishes are respected at a time when they can no longer voice these decisions. This can lead to a better end-of-life experience for everyone involved.
A person must have the capacity to make decisions in order to make an advance care plan or to choose a substitute decision-maker.
Basic Advance Care Plan considerations
Loss of capacity is the trigger to act on an advance care plan.