Death and dying can be sensitive topics to discuss, and culturally taboo to some. The discussion of Advance Care Planning (ACP) is an important one though, as it enables one to define the type of care he or she would prefer in the event of sickness and the inability to make health care decisions for themselves in the future.
Dr Raymond Ng, Consultant, Department of Palliative Medicine, had this to say, “There is evidence that ACP helps to reduce the stress and anxiety of surviving family members, as well as decrease the use of burdensome interventions, and enhance the quality of end-of-life care for the patient.”
The TTSH ACP project team was formed in 2012, with a pool of healthcare staff trained in the United States of America in 2009. Dr Ng stated, “While we’ve found that most are receptive to the idea and realise its value and importance, there is very low awareness among the general public. And many think it’s too early to have the ACP discussion, until it is too late.”
There needs to be greater awareness of ACP among the general public. There are efforts to bring ACP upstream to primary care and outpatient clinics. Many of these are driven by hospitals and voluntary welfare organisations, and staged by community arts groups.
GPs and family doctors often have a closer, long-term relationship with patients and their families, and are ideally positioned to advocate ACP.
They can also facilitate ACP conversations themselves, and upload the completed documents to the national ACP IT platform. The ACP project team does conduct activities to raise awareness of ACP, and can also provide training for GPs in the central zone.
ACP is a process that helps loved ones and healthcare professionals understand the individual as a person and foster closer relationships between them."
Be an Advance Care Planning advocate!
If you are a GP practicing in the central region of Singapore, email email@example.com to find out how you can promote Advance Care Planning.
- Ang Mo Kio
- Toa Payoh