Advance care planning in palliative care: a national survey of health professionals and service managers.Aust Health Rev. 2015 Apr; 39(2):146-153.AH
To identify the attitudes, knowledge and practices regarding advance care planning (ACP) in palliative care.
A nationwide online survey was distributed to Australian palliative care services associated with the Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration (n=105). Seventy-three health professionals (HPs) and 59 service managers completed the survey.
Regarding ACP, 51% of service managers reported relevant policies and procedures were in place in their service and 44% included ACP in job descriptions. Most HPs were confident in undertaking ACP, including initiating discussions with patients and complying with documents; however, only 44% reported receiving ACP specific training. Although 58% of HPs reported having conversations about ACP with more than 11 patients in the past 6 months, only 44% of managers report that it is offered to most patients. Thirty per cent of HPs were aware of others not adhering to patient wishes in the past 6 months and only 43% of HPs (and 37% of managers) believed ACP is done well within their service.
This first national survey examining ACP in palliative care services demonstrates there is a need to improve systems to support ACP and to understand circumstances in which ACP wishes are not followed.