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Are advance care plans of any value?
  1. Derek Willis1 and
  2. Rob George2
  1. 1 Medical, University of Chester, Chester, UK
  2. 2 Medicine, King's College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Derek Willis, Medical, University of Chester, Chester CH1 4BJ, UK; derekw{at}

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Recent papers in BMJ Support and Palliative Care concerning advance care plans (ACP) offer empirical evidence that helps us to understand how ACP are, and should be, applied.1 2 They are welcome and timely as critics often argue that palliative medicine sometimes values opinion over evidence.

However, even in medicine, some things do not need evidence as proof: indeed, their value may be clear despite the evidence. ACP is an example, properly done, it captures a unique narrative. Rationality and professionalism are the justification: personhood, respect for autonomy, confidentiality, consent are all inherent to healthcare.

The importance of ACP as a person’s narrative (and not just a quick reference for decision-making) is to protect them from being ‘done to’—the Liverpool Care …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.