Understanding how advance care planning is approached in the residential aged care setting: A continuum model of practice as an explanatory device


Dr Christopher Shanley, Aged Care Research Unit, Liverpool Hospital. Email: christopher.shanley@sswahs.nsw.gov.au


Objective:  To gain an understanding of how advance care planning (ACP) is understood and approached by managers of residential aged care facilities.

Methods:  Qualitative interviews with managers from 41 residential aged care facilities from South Western Sydney, Australia. Content and thematic analysis of interview transcripts.

Results:  The majority of facilities do not have a systematic approach to ACP, but tend to initiate discussions about end-of-life treatments late in a resident's illness. There are varying degrees to which these discussions are used in ongoing care planning or made explicit if the resident is transferred to hospital. A number of factors are identified that support the implementation of ACP.

Conclusion:  A continuum model of practice is proposed that describes four broad approaches to practice under the domains of initiation, scope, follow-up and documentation of ACP as well as the organisational leadership adopted around ACP.