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WS-3 The role of the ACP facilitator: The importance of achieving and maintaining competence
  1. Linda Briggs and
  2. Bud J Hammes
  1. Gundersen Health System, La Crosse, WI, USA


Background The introduction of the advance care planning (ACP) facilitator, as a new and emerging role for the healthcare setting, was first introduced in 1993 in La Crosse, Wisconsin. ACP Facilitators are typically non-physicians/providers who have clinical roles such as nurses and social workers, but also can include non-clinicians, such as chaplains, members of faith ministries, or other community volunteers. The role of the ACP Facilitator has expanded across the USA and to other parts of the world like Australia, Singapore, and parts of Europe and Canada.

ACP facilitators provide a valuable service for individuals and their families, promoting ACP conversations as a component of quality care. However, there are many questions and concerns about how non-physicians can provide this ACP service. What training should be provided? What are the core competencies of  the role? How is initial competency achieved? How is competence maintained? What standards exist to guide the development of competency based education? What difference do certification programs make?

Aim In this workshop, the presenters will offer a definition of the role, responsibilities, and competencies of the ACP Facilitator.

Discussion The Respecting Choices® approach to designing effective certification programs for ACP Facilitators will be explored as a critical component of ensuring competence in fulfilling their responsibilities. This standardised approach to certification successfully enables non-physicians to provide a reliable ACP service. The presenters will also discuss the importance of facilitator certification for different stages of illness; clarifying the need for specific skills and competencies when facilitating ACP conversations for individuals with chronic illness, or those who are approaching the last years of life. Strategies to achieve and maintain competence in the role of the ACP Facilitator will be discussed. Lastly, the presenters will provide evidence of the outcomes that result from the Respecting Choices approach to ACP Facilitator certification.

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