Background Advance Care Planning is increasingly recognised as a fundamental component of high quality care of patients with chronic or potentially life-limiting illnesses. However the engagement of Primary Care practitioners in ACP remains a challenge in many communities.
Aim To provide an overview of the role of Primary Care in Advance Care Planning.
Methods Synthesis of the literature on Advance Care Planning as it relates to Primary Care.
Results Primary Care is an important setting for initiating and coordinating Advance Care Planning discussions for a number of reasons: (a) the patient’s health status is often more stable in the community; (b) greater continuity of care (interpersonal, informational and management) exist in the Primary Care setting; and (c) Primary Care already plays a key role in the planning and coordination of care for patients with chronic diseases. However the involvement of Primary Care in ACP remains a challenge in many communities due to a number of barriers. Potential solutions to greater involvement of Primary Care practitioners in ACP may include: (a) better identification of patients who would benefit from ACP; (b) proactive involvement of non-medical staff; (c) greater incentives for planning and coordinating future care; and (d) tailoring the ACP process to suit the needs of Primary Care practitioners and their patients.
Discussion and conclusion Effective engagement of the Primary Care sector in ACP remains a challenge, but may be overcome using a number of strategies.
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