Background The complexity of legal frameworks governing ACP in Australia can make it more difficult for GPs to discuss ACP with patients, and to understand and work with the law.
Aim Develop and deliver education sessions to assist rural and regional GPs to understand and incorporate legally effective ACP as part of routine healthcare.
Methods Two 60 min education sessions were conducted at each of two regional medical centres in 2014/15. Session one, presented by a palliative care specialist, focused on incorporating conversations about dying and ACP into general practice consultations. Session two, presented by the Office of the Public Advocate (Victoria), focused on legal frameworks governing ACP, and information and support services.
Results The majority of participants reported that the sessions greatly increased: their understanding of the importance of ACP and how to raise ACP with patients; and, their knowledge of ACP laws. Almost all agreed that the sessions would enhance their practice. All agreed that the quality of the sessions was excellent and they would recommend them to others.
Discussion There are benefits and challenges in developing a medico-legal collaboration to provide ACP law and practice education in a regional GP clinic setting, including developing content applicable to regional GP practice, that can be delivered in the limited timeframes GPs have available. Follow-up evaluation of GPs’ experiences in practice 6–12 months later may contribute to ongoing program design.
Conclusion Medico-legal collaborations to deliver face-to-face ACP education sessions have potential to assist GPs to incorporate ACP into their practice.
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