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Creating interest in ACP in a health group setting
  1. J Denson,
  2. A McKinnon,
  3. S Scammell,
  4. C Dickins and
  5. L Meehan
  1. Barwon Health, Victoria, Australia


In 2009 Barwon Health's Chronic Heart Failure (CHF) team commenced promoting the opportunity of Advanced Care Planning (ACP) to clients in our 12 week group programs. Prior to 2009, ACP information was provided to clients individually when time permitted.

The team was interested in exploring if this new approach led to a greater willingness to engage in discussion about ACP.

Midway into a program the Cardiac Nurse provides a leaflet and information about ACP to all participants and partners. In the following weeks the Social Worker speaks to each client about his/her interest or questions. The discussions can then continue with Social Worker, client and family and any existing legal documents the client has are checked.

There has been a marked increase both in information clients received about ACP and follow-up discussions. 51 of 99 clients and partners discussed ACP with the Social Worker and 37 plans completed with a high client satisfaction rate.

This approach is innovative because the ACP information is initially offered with health related information when clients are relaxed within the group, familiar with the team and have an increased understanding of their heart condition. The process is connected with their weekly program attendance and moves at the client's pace. It is acceptable to clients, timely and leads to greater willingness to engage in the ACP process. We believe the approach can be used for many health group programs and has the potential to increase the participation in ACP within the community health population.

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