Advice for aged care
Calls to the national Advance Care Planning (ACP) Advisory Service are frequently from managers of aged care residential homes wanting to know how to introduce advance care planning to their processes.
Helana Kelly is Project Officer with the national ACP Advisory Service. She has spoken with many people who have called the advisory service for help, including managers of residential aged care homes. Here, Helana describes the sort of information residential aged care homes are seeking about advance care planning.
"We often have phone calls from managers who operate residential aged care homes across multiple states and territories. They are seeking information and advice about not only which forms they need, for their residents and their residents' families, but they also have questions like, 'how can we as a service ensure that we are implementing advance care planning appropriately?' They want advice on, for example, the appropriate time to ask people if they have an Advance Care Plan - is it when they're filling out admission forms?" Ideally, she says, advance care planning is part of routine and ongoing care.
"Ideally, it is part of the routine questioning on admission:
- Who are your decision-makers?
- Who would you like to contact, or would you like us to contact for you, in an emergency?
- Do you have a medical decision-maker?
- Do you have an Advance Care Plan?
"At that time or later, they might say, 'would you be interested in knowing more about advance care planning?' If that is not the right time for the person to have the conversation, they might like some information to take away top consider, or say they would talk about it later.
"We also suggest that the residential aged care home manager ask themselves questions like, 'how can we as a service ensure that we have systems in place to know that someone has an Advance Care Plan?' and 'how do we communicate with the doctor or ambulance service in an emergency if some has an Advance Care Plan?'
"It is not uncommon for the ACP Advisory Service to then send a follow-up email to the manager confirming what we've talked to them about, so they have it all together and they don't need to go searching. We can pull it together for them or direct them to our website resources."
"We can also send them information sheets that they can provide to families about what advance care planning is. We encourage them to say to residents that they want to know more about advance care planning, they can contact us and we can help them."
ACPA can assist residential aged care homes by:
- providing information related to advance care planning in your state or territory
- providing online courses, face-to-face workshops and webinars
- providing national aged care standards
- directing them to Decision Assist resources