Advance care planning 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.
Advance care planning 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.
The NSW Advance Care Directive Guidelines provide guidance to health
professionals on how to discuss advance care planning 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, advance care planning can support clinical care
which better aligns with patients’ preferences.
NSW Health information is also available to help people to understand the
importance of planning ahead and of documenting their preferences for care
Local health districts may also engage with local partners including residential
aged care facilities and encourage them to ensure advance care planning information is
available and up to date for residents.
Useful resources to support advance care planning in aged care settings include:
More information on advance care planning and COVID-19 is available on Advance Care Planning Australia. Health practitioners and patients can also call the advisory service on 1800 987 649 between Monday and Friday from 9am – 5pm.
Health and Social Policy Branch (HSPB)