Talk to your patients
We are asking GPs to encourage their patients to start a conversation about their wishes for end of life care, or advance care planning.
This could lead to the development of an advance care directive - which is a document capturing these plans.
To support General Practice to initiate advance care planning conversations and assess patient’s and carers palliative and supportive care needs. The NBMPHN are working with HammondCare to provide The Advance ProjectTM Toolkit evidence based toolkit and training package specifically designed for GP’s, nurses and practice managers. There are also resources for patients and carers. There are also online training modules available specifically tailored to GPs, nurses and general practice managers with an explanation on how to use the Advance Project resources in everyday clinical practice. The purpose of the project is to build capacity of general practices and primary care clinicians to provide better care through team-based initiation of advance care planning and palliative care.
A number of resources are available to assist you in setting up an advance care directive for your patient.
- NSW Ambulance offers an Authorised Care Plan document that can be completed with your patient and a General Practitioner Information Kit about Authorised Palliative Care Plans.
- My Health Record - you can upload an Advance Care Directive document to your patient's My Health Record. Advance Care Planning documents can be uploaded to My Health Record by patients and can be viewed by their GP or other registered clinicians with permission.
- The RACP offers an Advance Care Planning position statement for general practice.
- Advanced Care Planning Australia provides information and resources to general practice staff on how to manage Advance Care Planning, along with guidance on the use of MBS items.
- The NBM HealthPathways website offers Palliative Care pathways and information.
- ELDAC (End of Life Directions for Aged Care) provide an evidence based Primary Care Toolkit to support palliative care and advance care planning.
- Healthdirect Australia operates the NSW Palliative Care After-Hours Helpline (1800 548 225) which provides support to people who are receiving palliative care. It also assists health professionals, such as GPs, to support palliative care patients who choose to remain at home.
The PEACH (Palliative Care Home Support Packages) Program provides care packages to palliative care patients in their last days of life who wish to die at home. GPs can refer eligible palliative care patients by contacting the PEACH Co-ordinator in NBMLHD on 0447 994 934.
Advance Care Planning and Advance Care Directive
It can be helpful to understand the difference between these two things:
Advance Care Planning (ACP) is the process of developing future plans for a person's health and personal care that respects their values, beliefs and preferences. Advance care planning involves discussion with health professionals, family and friends, and could include a written advance care directive.
Advance Care Directive (ACD) is a planning document written by a person with capacity that is authorised by common law or by legislation (laws vary across Australia). In NSW, advance care directives are recognised at common law. The NSW Guardianship Act 1987 provides substitute decision makers through the 'person responsible' hierarchy and allows appointed Enduring Guardians to consent to end of life decisions.
An advance care directive can either:
- Record a person's values, life goals and preferred outcomes, or directions about medical treatment and care (an instructional directive); or
- Formally appoint a substitute decision maker (Enduring Guardian); or
- Do both of these things.
For more information, please call Janice Peterson on 4708 8100 or contact us online.