Advance care planning for the end of life

Via National Institute for Health Research

The National Institute for Health Research has announced a new study into the initiation of advance care planning (ACP) for those entering end of life care.

Advance care planning (ACP) is the process whereby a patient, in communication with health care professionals, family members and important others, makes and reviews decisions about future health care, should he or she subsequently become incapable of participating in these treatment decisions. ACP is the first step in implementing the End of Life Care Pathway set out in the National End of Life Care Strategy.

The collaborative research by University of Nottingham academics and senior palliative care clinicians will look into the ways in which ACP is used in community care settings and how this affects patients’ experience of end of life care.

The process of ACP aims to start the discussion about end of life care as early as possible after a terminal prognosis, by bringing together patients, carers and healthcare professionals. Starting ACP discussions is often difficult for participants and evidence suggests that patients and professionals tend to wait for each other to take the initiative. Very little is known about patient and carer preferences for ACP, or how it is implemented and develops as a process over time.

The research team, led by Dr Kristian Pollock of the University of Nottingham, will investigate the ACP process through a series of qualitative interviews with healthcare professionals and longitudinal patient-centred case studies. This will be supported by analysis of patients’ medical records and other documents recording ACP discussions.

More information about the project