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Advance Care Planning—A Primer

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Advance Care Planning (ACP) is the process by which individuals make decisions that can guide their future healthcare if they become incompetent. Creation of an Advance Care Plan should involve discussions with healthcare providers and substitute decision makers (SDM). ACP can assist individuals, their families, and healthcare professionals in planning for future and end-of-life (EOL) care. Recent research suggests that ACP can increase discussions about EOL preferences and improve the concordance between patient preferences and their EOL care.

More than 50% of Canadians have not completed an Advanced Care Plan. This may be due to a variety of reasons, however it is possible that the community does not have enough knowledge about healthcare options that can be provided in the hospitals. Current research is focused on identifying barriers and facilitators to ACP, as well as implementing methods for incorporating it during standard medical care. Various stakeholders have identified ACP as a priority, and in order to raise awareness, April 16th has been designated as National Advance Care Planning Day in Canada

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