Advance care planning, including shared goals of care, has benefits for the person and their whānau, health care staff and for the health care system.
Benefits for the person and their whānau:
- Encourages conversations about what is important to a person and their whānau.
- It can help people feel more in control, reduce anxiety and fear and can positively enhance a person’s hope in the face of progressive illness.
- ACP has shown to increase a person’s understanding of their condition, improve their comfort, and reduce stress, anxiety and depression for whānau after a person dies.
Benefits for health care staff:
- Helps develop relationships between a health care team and the person/whānau.
- By taking the time to sit with a person/whānau and gain an understanding of who they are, what is important to them, what they are hoping for and what they might be worried about, can create and support a genuine connection.
Benefits for the system:
- Allows end-of-life wishes to be known and followed.
- Evidence from local and international studies has found that advance care planning supports a substantial reduction in unwanted and unwarranted treatments for consumers. This leads to measurable reductions in hospital length of stay, hospital costs and emergency admissions in the last year of life, with a corresponding increase in consumer satisfaction and quality of life. Systems have not always encouraged the consumers’ voice to drive the care delivery model. For some, this has led to inequitable access to services, unwarranted and unwanted treatments; and culturally unsafe and inappropriate experiences.
- Advance care planning provides a model where the cultural framework and beliefs, values, hopes and goals of the person and their whānau are central to care and treatment planning. The consumers’ voice can be most easily heard when systems view advance care planning as a service, not a project.