Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 39, Issue 10, October 2010

End of life care The importance of advance care planning

Melissa Bloomer Heather Tan Susan Lee
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Communication about end of life care may involve difficult conversations for patients, family members and health professionals. However, a lack of understanding of a person’s wishes about their future care may result in a loss of dignity for the person, and additional distress for their family members and health professionals and burden to the healthcare system.
This article discusses the barriers to advance care planning and provides some guidance for the general practitioner in undertaking advance care planning with patients and their families. Tips for initiating end of life discussions with patients and families utilising the ‘PREPARED’ acronym, and ensuring appropriate care delivery are included.
Involving patients and their family members in advance care planning may be challenging and time consuming for GPs. However, there are a number of resources to support this activity in relation to training, communication support and Medicare item funding.

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