Barwon Health is Victoria's largest regional health service. Alan David Lodge (ADL) is an Aged Care Facility providing high level care for approximately 105 residents.
Advance care planning (ACP) is included in the goals of care for residents at ADL but had not been fully implemented due to staff limitations, in particular the availability of time, for trained staff to facilitate the ACP process. The Respecting Patient Choices (RPC) program at Barwon Health provided funding for a dedicated 4 h per week over a 6-month period to allow staff that had previously completed RPC training/workshops to facilitate ACP at ADL.
RPC program provided education sessions and support for staff and this together with dedicated time to facilitate the process, produced a significant increase in participation of residents and families in ACP through consultation with familiar staff whereby there is an established rapport.
It was anticipated that improved quality of care for residents and a reduction in the incidence of family/staff conflict would result by ensuring medical treatment and personal wishes were known prior to a health crisis. The potential improvement in resource allocation through reduced acute admissions, dislocation and medical interventions was also highly probable but not measurable during the project period.
Overall there was a marked increase in ACP uptake and the outcomes of the project demonstrated that with a moderate amount of dedicated funding and allocated hours a sustainable model for ACP in aged care facilities is achievable.
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