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Quality of advance care planning in Australian aged care must improve

Author: Claire Maskell
18 December 2012

Australian research published in the British Medical Journal has concluded that a systematic approach to implementing advance care planning in residential aged care is required to ensure all residents, who wish to, have documents prepared to inform health choices at the end of life.

The process of advance care planning is acknowledged as an important component of providing personalised care that accommodates a person’s wishes, giving them some control over the care they receive at the end of life.

Researchers from the Australian Government funded Respecting Patient Choices program surveyed 19 residential aged care facilities in Victoria to assess staff experience and attitudes towards advance care planning. 

They found that although some advance care planning practices were occurring, they were inconsistent and variable in quality. Some facilities did have policies in place governing the practice, but none of these met the requirements for best practice. Staff had limited experience and knowledge required to undertake advance care planning, despite this, the majority were supportive of the process, which revealed a need for education and support in this regard.

The authors recommend a systematic approach to implementing advance care planning in residential aged care facilities to ensure that the process is applied consistently and to a high quality. 

The full article is open access, available here.

For more information about advance care plannin and the Respecting Patient Choices program visit the RPC website.

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