[The nurse's role in the process of advance care planning]
SourceTijdschrift voor Gerontologie en Geriatrie, 52, 1, (2021), article 2021.01.02
Article / Letter to editor
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Primary and Community Care
Tijdschrift voor Gerontologie en Geriatrie
SubjectRadboudumc 18: Healthcare improvement science RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on older and frail people underlines the importance of advance care planning (ACP). ACP is a dynamic communication process involving patients, families and healthcare providers, which serves to discuss and document wishes and goals for future care. Currently, ACP practice is often suboptimal. This implies that important decisions about care and treatment may need to be made acutely in crises. Many factors contribute to suboptimal ACP practice. One such factor is ambiguity regarding roles and responsibilities of different disciplines in the ACP-process. The perception that having ACP conversations is primarily a physician's task is a misconception. Specific skills that could contribute to a holistic and person-centered ACP-process are largely lacking in nursing curricula and therefore, may be insufficient and under-utilized. For instance, nursing staff could involve persons in conversations about meaning, quality of life, loss and grief as a part of ACP. Moreover, they may communicate a patient's wishes to other healthcare providers including physicians. Acknowledgement of this potential role, by physicians as well as by nursing staff themselves, is needed for ACP to become a truly interprofessional process.
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