This paper reports on the experiences and perspectives of community members in relation to advance healthcare directives and enduring power of attorney, including the factors that encourage or discourage engagement in advance care planning (ACP). METHODS; A qualitative methodology was used involving 26 in-depth telephone interviews with community members (mean age 66 years). The aims of the interview question were to gain an understanding of: (1) motivations for engaging in ACP; (2) barriers that prevent people from engaging in ACP; and (3) suggestions for promoting ACP.
The findings suggest that: (1) community members lack knowledge about ACP; (2) forms appear inaccessible and complex; (3) community members avoid ACP due to fear, mistrust and concerns over control; and (4) there are misperceptions regarding the relevance of ACP based on age and health.
There is unnecessary fear, avoidance and mistrust around ACP activities, largely resulting from misinformation. There is an undoubted need for greater education and support to be offered to individuals and their families regarding ACP, its benefits and its limitations.