Discussing Advance Care Planning and Directives in the General Population

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The concept of end-of-life planning, along with medical and legal issues, has been discussed and has evolved over several years. The 1990 Patient Self-Determination Act and individual states’ Department of Health Advance Directive forms helped overcome past problems. Patients with terminal and chronic illness are now able to have their wishes recognized for their future care. Any healthy individual’s decision during an advance care planning (ACP) discussion can be adversely affected by various factors; however, multiple barriers—religion, culture, education, and family dynamics—can influence the process. Healthcare professionals’ reluctance to initiate the conversation may result from limited training during medical school and residency programs. These limitations hinder both the initiation and productiveness of an ACP conversation. We explored ACP issues to provide guidance to healthcare professionals on how best to address this planning process with a healthy adult.

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