Advance care decision making and planning
Background Advance care planning (ACP) is an important component of quality care for patients with chronic and advanced diseases. General practititoners are ideally placed to initiate ACP because of their role in care coordination of chronic and advanced diseases, and the longstanding relationship they develop with patients.
Objective This paper outlines the key barriers to general practice involvement in ACP and describes useful strategies for incorporating ACP into patient care.
Discussion Barriers to ACP are many and involve health professionals, patients and the healthcare system. To successfully incorporate ACP into patient care, there should be: (i) a commitment from the whole practice to incorporate ACP into patient care; (ii) a focus on building capacity for ACP in the practice; and (iii) efforts to implement and optimise the process of ACP. The outcomes of ACP (eg Advance Care Directives) should be disseminated appropriately to enable them to improve patient care.