Advanced Care Planning

Advanced Care Planning (ACP) involves discussing and planning future healthcare decisions to ensure they align with your values and goals. By working with your healthcare team, you can identify these important aspects and document them in advanced directives and legal documents focused on your medical preferences. ACP discussions are crucial for clarifying your healthcare wishes for you and your loved ones, giving you more control over your treatment options. Starting these conversations early can reduce the stress of making decisions during difficult times. While it might feel uncomfortable, talking to your healthcare team can provide reassurance and help you feel prepared. These discussions are flexible and can be adjusted as needed. ACP discussions are important for people of all ages and can happen at any stage of illness. Talk to your healthcare provider for more guidance on starting an advanced care planning discussion.

What is Advanced Care Planning (ACP)? 

Discussing and preparing for future healthcare decisions is called Advanced Care Planning. Your healthcare team can work with you to identify your values and treatment goals. Advanced directives are legal documents focused on medical decisions based on your values that you can complete with your healthcare team. 

Why is Advanced Care Planning Important (ACP)? 

An ACP discussion can help you and your loved ones clearly understand your wishes. It gives you more control over the care you receive. It will help you understand the various treatment options and procedures better. Most people find that having these discussions early on and prior to a crisis or hospitalization can reduce the stress and anxiety that can be felt when making decisions regarding their care.

Do I need to think about Advanced Care Planning (ACP)?

Thinking about ACP can be uncomfortable and overwhelming, but talking to your healthcare team can provide reassurance and help you feel prepared. So, you should talk with your care team when you are able to and your treatment is going well. You should talk about this with your loved ones as well.

Are these decisions final and permanent?  

These decisions can be a part of an ongoing discussion with your team. You can modify them at any time based on your wishes.

My doctor wants to discuss Advanced Care Planning (ACP) with me. Does this mean that I am getting sicker?

No, ACP can happen at any stage of your illness. Actually, starting at an earlier stage is recommended so you have sufficient time to make an informed decision and plan. ACP discussions are appropriate for people of all ages.

What is the difference between Advanced Care Planning (ACP) and Palliative Care? 

Palliative care is a specialty of medicine that focuses on relieving symptoms of the disease and reducing the stress associated with the disease. Palliative care focuses on improving your quality of life. Talking to a palliative care specialist at any stage of your illness is appropriate, even when pursuing curative treatment. 

Please talk to your healthcare provider about setting up a meeting for advanced care planning.