Advance Care Planning

Advance care planning (ACP) is  a process of discussion about goals of care and recording of preferences for care of people who may lose capacity or communication ability in the future.

The Public Health approach to palliative care advocates open discussions about ACP in the wider community. With ACP, the emphasis is on thinking about values and decisions and then talking to those around you about them.

ACP may include creating formal documents known as advance care directives or developing clinical care plans for future medical events. Nurses may become involved in ACP with their patients and families or individually for themselves and their own family. Each State and Territory has different legislation regarding ACP and Advance Care Directives (ACD), and nurses will need to know what applies in their area of practice.

Individual organisations (hospitals, area health authorities, community health services) may also have policies or procedures in place that relate to ACP.


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  • The Advance Care Planning Australia website has information on Australian processes for each state and territory.
  • From Dementia Australia National Quality Dementia Care Initiative the Start2talk website.
  • You can find more information about Advance Care Planning in your practice in the Advance Care Planning page in the palliAGED Practice Centre.

Guidelines / Documents / Factsheets

Last updated 24 June 2020