There are a slew of terms, forms, and legalities surrounding advance care planning, all of which can be beautiful tools to empower patients and their families in having open discussions about their wishes. Advance care planning does three things:
Provides written documentation stating what patients would or would not like done medically in the event of a decline in health.
Determines who can make healthcare decisions on behalf of individuals should they not be able to speak for themselves.
Opens conversations with patient, provider, and family regarding care goals, personal values, and religious and cultural beliefs of the patient.
You are likely to encounter elements of advance care planning in every setting of specialty and medical practice: out-patient advance directive discussions for Medicare, code status in the ER or new admissions, power of attorney/healthcare surrogacy/ethics in the ICU, POST forms in terminal diagnoses, conversations with your own families, etc. Discover how advance care planning is defined, how to have the discussion with patients, and forms you’ll need unique to your state.