Advance care planning involves people thinking and talking about how they would like to be cared for in the future. Anybody can develop an advance care plan. However people usually plan ahead because they have a condition, such as dementia, that means that they may not be able to make their own decisions or clearly communicate their wishes in the future. It is completely voluntary; people do not have to have a discussion or develop a written plan if they do not want to.
Key points from the research:
- advance care planning allows a person to have their wishes taken into account even in the advanced stages of their condition and at end of life when they are no longer able to make their own decisions
- it works best when there is a supportive discussion with a health or social care professional so that people understand their condition and care options. This can also help to make sure that written advance care plans are clear and easy for doctors and other care providers to understand
- advance care planning can help to reduce unnecessary emergency admissions to hospital and improve the quality of end of life care
- advance care planning may help to ensure better use of health and social care resources.