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Advance care planning is not just about end of life care and treatments.

It is the process of empowering consumers to participate in their health care planning and deciding what treatment and care best meets their values, goals and preferences now and in the future.

An advance care plan captures what is important to the person and outlines the care and treatment they would want if unable to communicate for themselves. 

Shared goals of care discussions are a part of the advance care planning process. These discussions are with a person and/or their whānau about the goals of care for a specific admission to hospital, aged residential care or long term care facility.

The Serious Illness Conversation Guide Aotearoa supports clinicians to have conversations with seriously ill people and their whānau, including shared goals of care discussions.

Shared decision-making in health care is complex and when it does not go well it causes harm to consumers and their whānau. The video exploring how the way we work impacts consumer experience explores what consumers experience when shared decision-making does not go well and what clinicians think might contribute to it.

About advance care planning

Advance care planning is the process of thinking about, talking about, and planning for future health care and treatment. Advance care planning is a person/whānau-led process and there are a number of different ways a person and their whānau might want to do this (for example, at a marae, with whānau, with their clinical team, alone or with other members of their community). It is important the health care team supports them in that process.

Advance care planning encourages people to think about:

  • what really matters to them, their values, priorities and goals
  • their current and possible future health
  • the care and treatments they might need
  • the choices they might face.

Advance care planning supports people to talk to:

  • their whānau about what matters most to them and what they would want if their health changed or they were unable to tell us themselves
  • their general practice team and other health care providers about their current and future health, treatments and care options they might face and to understand the risks and benefits
  • health care providers when their health changes and they need to make decisions about treatment(s).

 Advance care planning helps people plan, document and/or prepare:

  • so everyone knows what care would support what is most important to them
  • for treatments and care they would or would not want if their health changes
  • the treatments they do not want if they are unable to speak for themselves.

Advance care planning gives the health care team information to support appropriate treatment decisions by:

  • informing us about who should be involved in decision-making
  • providing information about a person’s values, goals and preferences to inform treatment planning
  • providing direction about what a person would want should they be unable to tell us themselves, including advance directives.
Last updated: 1st December, 2021