Are older Australians receiving the medical care that they want, and how well does their care align with their personal values and preferences?
To help answer this question, researchers are looking for health care organisations to take part in a ground-breaking study about Advance Care Directives (ACDs) in health care services.
Advance Care Planning Australia (ACPA) has opened applications for the National Advance Care Directive Prevalence Study 2018, the first of its kind in Australia.
Following a successful pilot study last year, the Australian Government-funded research involves auditing the health records of people aged 65 and over to determine the prevalence of ACDs and other advance care planning documentation. The overall aim is to create a national dataset of ACD prevalence and evaluate how well an individual’s clinical care plan aligns with their personal preferences, as outlined in their ACD.
ACPA is inviting general practice clinics, aged-care facilities and hospitals to apply to take part in the study.
ACPA Medical Director Karen Detering says: “Advance Care Directives are most valuable at the point of care, where they can be used to guide treatment decisions. If they’re not easily accessible in people’s records, they’re less likely to receive the care they want.
“Currently, there is a lack of data on how prevalent Advance Care Directives are for older Australians in health and residential aged care services, which is why the study is so vital. The available evidence suggests prevalence is low but we need to better understand the situation if we’re serious about supporting more Australians to receive the end-of-life care that they want.”
The study has been funded to run each year until at least 2020, and will inform state and national advance care planning policy. Findings will influence advance care planning initiatives, and be used to benchmark performance and track areas for improvement.
A key benefit for participating organisations is that all staff members involved will receive a training package and ongoing support to upskill their knowledge of advance care planning.
After the data has been collected, participants will also receive a customised report presenting their results benchmarked against other de-identified participating organisations. This will show how well advance care planning is being implemented within their service, and will support their quality improvement and accreditation standards requirements.
The study is open to all accredited public and private general practices, hospitals and residential aged care facilities in Australia that meet a set of eligibility criteria.
More information and an online application form are available at www.advancecareplanning.org.au/prevalence. Applications will close on Thursday 26 July.