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Advance care planning in care homes

The quality of care delivered in care homes is improved if carers know and understand the wishes of the individuals they are caring for.

This requires people to think about, discuss and then record their wishes, so that relevant carers know at all times these wishes and preferences.  This is the process of ‘advance care planning’ (ACP). 

Advance Care Planning (ACP) is usually associated with End of Life Care.

However, in care homes for older people, there may be times when residents are not able to express their wishes. If an advance care plan has been recorded, this can help staff know how the person would like to be supported, who they should consult and who not to consult.

So an advance care plan can aid a person’s dignity if they are cared for as they would like and it can enhance their sense of control over their lives.

Resources for care home staff

Many residents in care homes will need some support from staff to complete an advance care plan.

Care home staff need to have the confidence and confidence to enable residents to think about, discuss and record their wishes and preferences for the future. This will involve discussions about sensitive issues, including the refusal in advance of life-sustaining treatments such as artificial hydration and nutrition.

 An Advance Care Planning  ‘learning pack’ has been developed to enhance the confidence and competence of staff when discussing with residents their wishes and preferences for the future, including an advance decision to refuse treatment.

The ‘learning pack’ for care homes was commissioned by the Department of Health and  the Social Care Institute of Excellence and is free to download.

 An Advance Care Planning two disc premium pack is also available to order from this website and this has additional materials, including multi-media resources and a specially designed advance care planning document for use in care homes. 

The quality of care for dementia sufferers in care homes can be improved if carers know information about the early life of the individual. These can be the person's achievements, family and friends, interests, musical tastes.

They can then trigger the memories that enable valuable and life enhancing communication to take place between the individual and the carer, and among residents in care homes.

That is why we encourage people to register for a Lifebox in which they can store these memories and facts which can be used by care home staff.

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