What is Advance Care Planning?

Advance Care Planning (ACP) is a process of discussion and shared planning for future health care. It involves people, family/whanau and health care professionals. The discussions give people the opportunity to develop and express their preferences for end of life care based on:

  • their personal views, values and beliefs
  • a better understanding of their current and likely future health
  • treatment and care options available.

Advance Care Planning is a journey of thinking, talking and planning. The outcome of this process is an Advance Care Plan where you set out in writing what is important to you.

Advance Care Planning is a voluntary process, the pace and content of the conversations is determined by the person. Receiving information so that you can effectively participate in medical decision making processes now and in the future is an important element of advance care planning.

Advance Care Planning is for everyone. Some of us want to plan for the worst case scenario (i.e. sudden health crisis), some of us choose to plan because we have a life threatening illness or long term condition and some of us choose not to plan at all. The conversation with family/whanau is an important aspect. Advance Care Planning is often seen as a gift to loved ones, the gift of knowing what we want.

The Advance Care Plan can be changed at any time. People’s given situations and health conditions change so therefore it is important that the plan is reviewed.

We are all going to die and thinking about this is not always easy. We do know however that thinking about death, talking about dying and planning for the final parts of the journey reduces anxiety and releases you to get on with living.

Up to half of us are not in a position to make our own decisions when we are near death. Our families and health professionals have a significant chance of not knowing our views without discussion.

ACP information leaflets and plans can be downloaded from www.advancecareplanning.org.nz.