What is Advance Care Planning?
Advance care planning is the process of planning for future medical care, particularly for the event when the patient is unable to make his or her own decisions. It may also help relieve family members and physicians of their concerns in making difficult decisions during challenging moments. It should be a routine part of standard medical care. It may include advance directive documents such as a living will, power of attorney for healthcare decisions or healthcare agent.
Why is it important?
An advance directive allows a person to document or verbally state to healthcare professionals and family in advance what their wishes are before that individual is unable to make decisions at the end of life.
It is okay to feel uncomfortable to speak with a patient about final wishes. Just remember that if there is no written document or discussion ahead of time then no one will know how the patient would like to be treated. Each patient conversation flows differently and being aware of available resources in different stages of the discussion will empower you moving forward in helping patients and their family members.
What are Goals of Care?
Goals of Care describe what a seriously ill patient wants to achieve during an episode of care, within the context of their clinical situation. Goals of care are the clinical and personal goals for a patient's episode of care that are determined through a shared decision-making process.
What is the difference between Advance Care Planning and Goals of Care?
Advance Care Planning conversations are intended to collect broad and detailed information from any adult patient, healthy or sick, for future reference. Advance Care Planning is an ongoing conversation driven mostly by the Primary Care practice. Goals of Care conversations seek the immediate collection of patient wishes and desires that are specific to a diagnosis or condition. Goals of Care conversations are initiated by Providers.