Background Think Ahead is a public awareness initiative of the Forum on End of Life in Ireland. The Forum is guided by the National Council of the Forum on End of Life. An extensive year-long public consultation in 2009 identified a wide range of issues which impacted on end of life.
Aim To present the development of the Think Ahead project, an Irish public awareness initiative and system to guide people in discussing and recording their preferences.
Methods Resources, including a Think Ahead form and website (www.thinkahead.ie), have been developed. A wide range of consultation processes have been engaged in with members of the public as well as professional organisations and State agencies.
Results Two GP pilots were carried out, involving 120 patients up to 70 years of age, which looked at the people's experiences in filling in the Think Ahead form. Two regional community pilots were also conducted in 2012.
Discussion Think Ahead has been very positively received by the public and health professionals. The majority of people in all age groups considered Think Ahead to be a welcome initiative, in particular in its capacity to initiate conversations with family members who may be ill or dying. GPs reported that the tool had enhanced their relationship with their patients and reduced the potential for family conflict in relation to a person's wishes.
Conclusion The presentation will address the learnings of the public consultation and the pilots in relation to attitudes among the public to discussing preferences around end of life.
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