Advance care planning is a process of documenting discussions and decisions about a patient's current choices for future medical care and treatment. The process encourages understanding and reflection on the meaning of the disease and its significance in one's life.
Advance care planning can address predictable events associated with specific diseases - such as the use of tube feeding for Alzheimer's patients - and prevent such events from escalating into medical emergencies or family crises. Advance care planning addresses the unique issues patients and families face - for instance, by allowing them to state the course of treatment they would prefer in specific medical situations or the person they would want to make decisions for them if they were incapacitated.
Successful advance care planning depends on clinicians who:
When working with seriously ill and dying patients, clinicians must understand:
5.5.1 Case Study - M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
5.5.2 Case Study - University of California at Los Angeles
5.5.3 Case Study - Community Hospitals of Indianapolis
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This online version of the book Improving Care for the End of Life: A Sourcebook for Health Care Managers and Clinicians is provided with permission of Americans for Better Care of the Dying [ www.abcd-caring.org ] and Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
For further information on quality improvement in end-of-life care visit The Palliative Care Policy Center [ www.medicaring.org ].