GPs have important role in Advance Care Planning

Advance Care Planning Australia Ambassador Dr Chris Moy outlines the importance of end-of-life planning.

This week has been National Advance Care Planning week and ambassador for Advance Care Planning Australia Dr Chris Moy, who is also AMA Vice President, said GPs are an important part of an individual and family’s planning process.

“The AMA strongly supports advance care planning as it benefits everyone, the patient, their family, carers and health professionals and is particularly important for people with advanced chronic illness, a life-limiting illness, who are aged 75+ years or at risk of losing competence,” said Dr Moy.

“Having an advance care plan can reduce anxiety, depression, stress and increase satisfaction with care for the patient’s family members. In addition, advance care planning assists healthcare professionals and organisations by reducing unnecessary transfers to acute care and unwanted treatment.”

Advance Care Planning Australia had found less than 15 per cent of people have documented their health care preferences in an advance care directive.

“Your GP, in particular, can assist with the planning process by discussing your current and possible future health situations, helping you to clearly articulate your preferences, and regularly reviewing your advance care plan with you,” Dr Moy said.

“Advance care planning discussions, and clearly delineating ‘goals of care’, should become a key part of routine healthcare conversations across Australia.”  

Dr Moy said the Advance Care Planning Australia website is an excellent resource for health professionals, individuals, families, friends and carers.

The AMA’s Position Statement on End-of-Life Care and Advance Care Planning can be found here.

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