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O-121 Making the case for advance care planning facilitator certification standards
  1. Linda Briggs
  1. Gundersen Health System, La Crosse, WI, USA


Background The ACP Facilitator is a new and emerging role in healthcare. The Respecting Choices program was one of the first to choose non-physicians to offer ACP facilitation to those interested in planning for future healthcare decisions. The role of the ACP Facilitator has expanded across the United States and to other parts of the world like Australia, Singapore, and parts of Europe and Canada.

While this emerging role is gaining widespread support, there remains a lack of consistent standards for initial training and ongoing competence for those designated as ACP Facilitators. This lack of standardisation creates threats to role definition, credibility, support, ACP quality, and reimbursement.

Aim This presentation will propose that ACPEL support the development of ACP Facilitator Certification (and re-certification) standards as a critical step to leverage the importance of this role and insure the delivery of a consistent and reliable ACP service.

Discussion This presentation will highlight the need for standardisation in the training and ongoing competence of those who engage in ACP facilitation. It will ask the question “What is ACPEL’s role in identifying the components of ACP Facilitator Certification?”

“Certification refers to the confirmation of certain characteristics of an object, person, or organisation. This confirmation is often, but not always, provided by some form of external review, education, assessment, or audit” (

The hallmark of any professional service and credibility often rests on the quality and type of certification. Certification offers standardisation in the verification of skills and abilities that been identified over time through professional development and on-the-job experience.

The value in ACPEL creating the standards for ACP Facilitator Certification includes:

  • Assigns a rigorous set of competencies (i.e., knowledge, skills, and attitudes) that have been tried, tested, and verified to represent best practice through the experience of thousands working in the field

  • Provides assurance that individuals possess the most up-to-date, real-world knowledge from the field of ACP facilitation

  • Provides assurance that ACP Facilitators use similar terms and concepts as colleagues working all over the world

  • Increases the ACP Facilitator’s confidence and self-efficacy: an internal belief that they have the ability, knowledge, and skills to succeed as other peers

  • Increases the public trust in the purpose and outcomes of ACP facilitation, preventing the emergence of practices that may be biassed, or not effective in helping individuals make informed healthcare decisions

  • Provides a framework for reimbursement of ACP facilitation

  • As professional certification is maintained—through re-certification standards—ACP Facilitators update their knowledge and skills, and identify opportunities for improvement in the service provided

  • Brings credibility to employers who hire ACP Facilitators who are better able to achieve the strategic goals of advance care planning programs.

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