Advance Care Planning (ACP) enables a person to discuss and document the extent of medical intervention they wish to receive when in critical care or if approaching the end of their life.

ACP should be part of routine practice and with the increasing impact of COVID-19 on services, it is critical for clinical staff to proactively engage in these discussions with all patients and families.

NSW Health recommends that all staff be reminded of the importance of asking all patients if they have an advance care plan and/or Advance Care Directive.

For clinicians and health staff

The NSW Advance Care Directive Guidelines provide guidance to health professionals on how to discuss ACP and use an Advance Care Directive as part of this process. Resources include information about how to sensitively and affectively engage with patients and their families about advance care planning.

While patients’ wishes may not always be met, ACPs can support clinical care which better aligns with patients’ preferences.

For patients and families

NSW Health information is also available to help people to understand the importance of planning ahead and of documenting their preferences for care and treatment:

For Residential Age Care Facilities

Local health districts may also engage with local partners including Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACF) and encourage them to ensure ACP information is available and up to date for residents.

Useful resources to support ACP in aged care settings include:

More information on ACP and COVID-19 is available on the Advance Care Planning Australia website. Health Practitioners and patients can also call the advisory service on 1800 987 649 between Mon – Fri from 9am – 5pm.

Document information

Developed by

  • Health and Social Policy Branch (HSPB)


  • Palliative Care COP and Clinical Leads
  • Aged Care Unit
  • Office of the Chief Medical Officer
For use by

  • Local health districts
  • Palliative Care COP
  • Aged Care COP
Current as at: Thursday 9 April 2020
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW