Advance care planning (ACP) is a conversation about how a person wishes to be treated under circumstances in which they are not able to speak for themselves.
The aim of advance care planning is:
Recognise that many patients expect their doctor to take the initiative in raising the topic of their preferences about future care.
An informed advance care plan requires an understanding by the patient of their own health problems, and also about the realistic implications of the possible treatment options. Legal competence and capacity should be considered.
An advance care plan may consist of:
Each state and territory has its own local policies about ACP. Advance Care Planning Australia (ACPA) include forms for advance directives, policy documents, and information about the legal aspects of ACP for each state and territory.
Visit the Advance Project website
The Advance Project
Documentation helps ensure that an advance care plan will be respected. Australian states all have different legal frameworks, and some provide a specific document for recording advance care plans.
Even when patients have difficulty acknowledging that they may be deteriorating, or discussing poor prognosis, it is still possible to help them to make an advance care plan - in terms of planning for the 'what ifs'.
View ACPA's understanding a Health Professional's role
Read the Australian Journal of General Practice article: Advance care decision making and planning
Download RACGP's ACP and My Health Record (653kb pdf)
Last updated 24 August 2021