Advance Care Planning
Advance Care Planning is the process of thinking about and discussing how you would like to be cared for in the last months, weeks or days of your life. It might include, for example, thinking about what extra support you and your family might need, informing us if you have religious beliefs, discussing your wishes regarding hospital admissions or resuscitation, or considering where you would like to die. We believe it is better to have these conversations whilst you are well, in case there comes a time when you may not be able to communicate your wishes. It is a voluntary process.
Our GPs and Advanced Clinical Practitioners (ACPs) are used to having advance care planning conversations with patients because it has always been an important part of our role
With Covid19, advance care planning has become more urgent, because sadly we know that some people can become unwell very quickly without warning. We have been asked to start these discussions with those of our patients who are most at risk of becoming severely unwell if they get Covid19, if they have not already made their wishes known.
Advance care planning conversations have to be handled with great sensitivity; if they are then the planning process can bring comfort and peace of mind. You may have heard media stories about how badly people can be left feeling if the process is not handled well. After having had team training and discussions, we are reaching out more widely to offer advance care planning to our patients. Previously would always want to have these conversations in person, but due covid19 we are now having to conduct them by telephone or video. However, we aim to continue to approach these conversations in the most sensitive and individualised way possible.
- Making sure that wherever possible the conversation is with your usual GP or ACP
- Arranging for the conversation to include a family member, friend or carer of your choice
- Offering follow-up conversations if you would like more time to think about it
- Respecting your wishes if you do not want to discuss advance care planning
- For anyone who is not able to tell us their wishes (for example, due to memory problems) seeking information from relatives or carers who might know what their wishes would be
We encourage anyone who wishes to discuss advance care planning to get in touch with the practice to arrange to speak to a GP or ACP.
We support and follow this joint statement from the British Medical Association/Royal College of GPs https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKCQC/bulletins/283e565
Across Leeds, GP practices and hospitals are now using the ReSPECT form which you can read more about here; https://www.resus.org.uk/respect/patients-and-carers/?assetdetb3090aa6-5b77-4776-85ab-1e2e3e01082f=31441
Other useful resources:
St Gemma’s have set up a helpline for anyone in Leeds with family members or friends who are critically ill, or who have died from any illness during the Covid-19 period.
Page updated: 11.5.20