All you need to know about advance care planning documents
Published 28 November 2016
How can my patients upload an advance care plan to their My Health Record?
The My Health Record system provides individuals with the ability to upload a scanned version of an advance care planning document prepared by the individual or their representative to their My Health Record. Whilst advance care planning documents are not new they can now be uploaded to and stored on an individual’s My Health Record so that individuals can ensure their advance care plans are always accessible by their treating healthcare providers. The My Health Record system also allows individuals to nominate a custodian to make decisions on their behalf. The scanned copy of the advance care planning document needs to be saved in a Portable Document Format (PDF) file format before the individual or their representative will be able to upload it to their My Health Record. Healthcare providers are unable to upload a copy of their patients’ advance care plans to their My Health Record on their behalf. This must be performed by the individual or their representative.
How will this affect me as a healthcare provider?
The key purpose of enabling individuals to add their advance care planning documents to their My Health Record is to increase the availability of this critical information at the point of care when it is needed in circumstances where the individual cannot otherwise communicate. The My Health Record system will be a resource for healthcare providers to find out about, and access, advance care planning documents or contact details about who may hold paper copies of these documents. Healthcare providers who do not have access to the My Health Record system will need to rely on existing processes for accessing advance care planning documents. Guidance has been developed for individuals to let them know that not all their healthcare providers will have access to the My Health Record system so they should still make their wishes known to key contacts such as next of kin who may be involved in healthcare decision making on their behalf.
Healthcare providers should continue to apply and act according to the laws and policies in place in their jurisdiction regarding advance care planning documents. Healthcare organisations should have clear policies and procedures in place for documenting when Advance Care Directives, clinical care plans and resuscitation plans are in place, for ensuring they are readily accessible and how they should be stored. For example, a copy of an individual’s advance care planning document sourced from their My Health Record should only be added to the local medical record if it has been validated and relied upon as part of clinical care to minimise the risk of relying on out of date or invalid wishes. Existing policies and procedures may need to be updated to consider how to encourage access to advance care planning documents through a patient’s My Health Record where an individual has one.
What are advance care planning documents and custodians?
Advance care planning is a process that helps patients to plan for their future medical treatment or other care. This process involves thinking about their values, beliefs and their wishes about what medical care they would like to have for a time when they are not competent to make, or communicate, decisions for themselves. An important part of the planning process is to discuss their wishes with their family as well as talking to their general practitioner or other healthcare providers about any medical conditions they have.
An advance care planning document is a type of written statement regarding a person’s wishes for their future medical or healthcare treatment.
There is a range of advance care planning documents that can be developed by individuals in Australia such as an advance care directive, substitute decision maker document, a document with the characteristics of both, or other types of documents developed by individuals about their future care. Documents may be prescribed in legislation or operate under common law. Individuals may develop their advance care planning documents with assistance from family members, lawyers, healthcare providers or aged care facilities.
The use of advance care planning processes and access to advance care planning documents will assist people to have their preferences known and acted upon at the time when crucial decisions need to be made about their health care.
What information will be available to healthcare providers?
- The date that the original advance care planning document was written/completed;
- The author of the advance care planning document;
- The person who uploaded the document to the individual’s My Health Record;
- The date that the document was uploaded to the My Health Record system;
- A PDF copy of the advance care planning document; and
- The advance care document custodian details (if available).
Where can I refer my patient for more information about how to prepare and upload an advance care planning document to their My Health Record?
You can refer them to the My Wishes, My Plan Advance Care Planning factsheet.