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Nursing Times review - importance of advance care planning

5 January 2017

The Nursing Times has just published a review on the benefits and barriers of ensuring patients with life-limiting diseases have advance care planning. Advance care planning allows people to be more aware of that they may die, consider their options, and make choices about their end of life care whilst they still have the capacity to do so. It also increases the use of palliative care services, which focuses on symptom management and can increase quality of life for the patient and their family.

The report highlights that despite the benefits of advance care planning, a recent survey found that only 5% of people have an advance care plan or living will. The barriers to discussing end of life include: the difficulty in initiating conversations; lack of clarity regarding which healthcare professional is responsible; determining when the discussion is needed; the worry about upsetting the patient; and knowing which documents to use to record the patient's wishes.

The review explains that it is important that nurses and doctors have the right training so that they can initiate and manage conversations about advance care planning. The SAGE & THYME for Advance Care Planning and End of Life Care workshop gives clinicians an evidence-based, memorable, structured approach that they can immediately use with their patients.