THE COLLEGE OF LE COLLÈGE DES FAMILY PHYSICIANS MÉDECINS DE FAMILLE OF CANADA DU CANADA: Guide to Advance Care Planning Discussions
Developed by Residents for Residents

What is advance care planning?
Advance care planning (ACP) is a process in which a person reflects on and communicates their values, beliefs, goals, and preferences to best prepare for their future medical care. The designation of a substitute decision maker (SDM) is a key element of ACP.1

Why is ACP important?

Up to 76 per cent of patients will be unable to participate in some or all of the decisions affecting their own health care at the end of life,2 and 47 per cent of Canadians have not had a discussion with a family member or friend about what they would want or not want if they were ill and unable to communicate.3 Without the direction provided by ACP, families often feel burdened by directing medical care in crisis situations, and may feel ill-prepared to make decisions due to a lack of understanding of the patient’s values and preferences. When no prior direction has been documented, physicians often resort to using full resuscitative and medical care. This can mean aggressive treatments that the patient might not have wanted, and may result in unnecessary suffering for both the patient and their family.

Learn more about the resources that the CFPC provides here.

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