Landmark publication provides advance care planning road map in aged care

Carer having tea with senior women and smiling

Media Release

Landmark publication provides advance care planning road map in aged care

Advance Care Planning Australia has launched an advance care planning guide for aged care providers – the first of its kind in Australia.

The publication, Advance care planning in aged care: A guide to support implementation in community and residential settings was developed in partnership with the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI).

The guide offers comprehensive information on advance care planning specific to the aged care sector; from engaging with patients and families, policies and procedures and legal aspects relevant to each state and territory.

The guide was developed using findings from a literature review, a national survey of community and residential aged care providers, consultation with community and residential aged care staff from four states, and consultations with older people, as well as existing resources produced by Advance Care Planning Australia.

“Until now there have been limited practical, evidence-based resources for the aged care sector to confidently support patients and families with advance care planning. This new guide will hopefully fill this gap,” said Dr Karen Detering, Medical Director for Advance Care Planning Australia. 

Dr Frances Batchelor, NARI Director of Clinical Gerontology, said, “Although biomedical advances enable humans to live longer, the quality of life and end-of-life care is an issue that is rarely addressed in older people nearing the end-of-life.”

“Advance care planning gives older people the opportunity to discuss and determine their preferences for medical treatment if and when they are incapacitated. It also helps ensure that time and resources are not wasted on unwanted treatment options, and reduces the emotional distress of families at a stressful period,” she said.

The guide was officially launched by Ken Wyatt MP, Minister for Aged Care at the launch of Advance Care Planning Week in Melbourne last month.

Free copy for aged care providers

Copies of the guide are available for Australian aged care providers to order online.


What is advance care planning?

Advance care planning promotes care that is consistent with your goals, values, beliefs and preferences. It prepares you and others to plan for future health care and a time when you may no longer be able to communicate those decisions yourself. 

Key facts

  • Around four in ten people will not be able to make their own end-of-life medical decisions[1]
  • Less than 15% of Australians have documented their preferences[2]
  • A third of Australians will die before the age of 75[3]
  • Most people die after a chronic illness, not a sudden event3
  • Research shows that advance care planning can reduce anxiety, depression and stress experienced by families and that they are more likely to be satisfied with their  loved one’s care[4]

[1] Silveira MJ, Kim SY and Langa KM. Advance directives and outcomes of surrogate decision making before death. New England Journal of Medicine. 2010; 362: 1211-8.

[2] White B, Tilse C, Wilson J, et al. Prevalence and predictors of advance directives in Australia. Internal medicine journal. 2014; 44: 975-80.

[3] Australian Bureau of Statistics. Deaths, Australia, 2016. Available at (last accessed 17 April 2018).

[4] Detering KM, Hancock AD, Reade MC and Silvester W. The impact of advance care planning on end of life care in elderly patients: randomised controlled trial. Bmj. 2010; 340: c1345.