What is advance care planning?
What is Respecting Patient Choices?
Respecting Patient Choices is an Australian and Victorian government funded advance care planning program currently being piloted through Austin Health, Eastern Health, Northern Health, St. Vincent’s Health and into the community.
Advance care planning is an opportunity for patients to have a say in the current and future health care. It helps them to discuss, reflect upon, decide, and communicate their future health care decisions. It ensures that their decisions are communicated to the health care workers who provide their care in the future.
Advances in medical technology, such as being on a life support machine in an intensive care unit, have given us the ability to prolong life where previously it was impossible. What these advances have brought with them is the dilemma for doctors and family of deciding when to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatments which may be of limited or no benefit to the patient. Advance care planning enables patients to take part in this discussion and decision.
Many attempts to introduce advance care planning around the world, including Australia, have failed. The Respecting Patient Choices Program is an innovative program that was started at Austin Health and is now being extended within Victoria and to other states and territories.
The Respecting Patient Choices Program aims to
promote an individual’s understanding about the treatment options available to them
assist them to document their wishes and preferences about future medical treatment, particularly end-of-life treatment, in an Advance Care Plan
ensure this documentation is transferable so that it goes with the patient to other health care services.
trains health care staff to talk to patients and their families about advance care planning
supports patients to document their wishes
guides changes in the health care system to ensure that the wishes are followed.
Where did Respecting Patient Choices start?
introducing Respecting Patient Choices processes into the facilities and services
supporting the facilities and services to implement the processes
involving the patients
informing and supporting GPs
evaluating the project.