The following definition for advance care planning has been developed:

advance care planning is a process that supports adults at any age or stage of health in understanding and sharing their personal values and preferences regarding future care and realistic treatment choices. The goal of advance care planning is to help people receive care and treatment that is consistent with their values, goals and preferences during serious and chronic illness

Source: Sudore et al.

Preferences about the care and treatment your loved one would like to receive are documented in an Advance Care Plan. Any treatments they do not want to receive are also recorded.

As a default position, advance care planning conversations should always involve your loved one. If your loved one is not able to take part, care professionals may ask what you believe their preferences would be. Care professionals may offer advice based on their professional expertise and experience.

Advance care planning is an ongoing process, and Advance Care Plans can be updated if circumstances or wishes change.

Myths and Misconceptions

There can be myths and misconceptions about advance care planning, which are considered below. Please click on each misconception below to view the reality.

Advance Care Plans can be applied to groups of people in the same care home, so there is no need for individual advance care planning


No. Advance care planning is person-centred and responds to individual needs, wishes and preferences of care home residents and their families.

Advance Care Plans cannot be changed once they have been made


No. Advance Care Plans can be updated when appropriate, for example if wishes change or if the health of the resident changes. Advance Care Plans should be thought of as a living document, though decisions made by the resident when they still had capacity should be honoured where possible.

Advance Care Plans should be done only when someone becomes unwell


No. It is helpful to be proactive about future care. During COVID-19, health can change very rapidly so it is best to be as prepared as possible for making care decisions. It is good practice for advance care planning discussions to start upon admission to a care home, or very soon after.

Advance care planning causes the person and their family to become distressed


Advance care planning is voluntary. Remember, care staff will be able to support you and your loved one with any topics you find distressing. Talking about these topics may help to reduce any fears you have and provide comfort about the future. It is often beneficial to talk about care decisions in advance, rather than in an emergency.


If you need to talk to someone after reading this information, the following organisations can offer you support:

TEL: 0800 090 2309

TEL: 0808 808 7777

TEL: 0808 808 1677

TEL: 116 123


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