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Advance care planning

Advance care planning is a process for people to discuss their wishes for the future and record their views, preferences and priorities for care and treatment.

Anyone can make an advance care plan but it is particularly important for people who:

Different ways people can plan their care

An advance care plan should always be recorded in writing. If wishes are recorded they can be shared with loved ones and health and care professionals. This means peoples wishes are more likely to be known about and respected when it matters most.

The Mental Capacity Act outlines a few ways people can plan their care in advance:

Other ways to record treatment preferences

There are also clinician-led tools which may be included as part of an advance care plan. Depending on where you live these might include:

Advance care plans should be discussed and documented in someone’s medical record. It’s also very important they are shared and used when decisions about a person’s care need to be made.

Further information and support

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has a helpful guide to advance care planning. Our healthcare professionals hub also has some helpful resources, information and template forms to help you support your patients.

Page last reviewed: 17 August 2023
Next review due: 16 August 2024

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