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Advance care planning: evidence and implications for practice
  1. Gillian Horne,
  2. Jane Seymour and
  3. Sheila Payne
  1. Gillian Horne is Macmillan Research Fellow, University of Nottingham, Sue Ryder Care Centre for Palliative and End of Life Studies, School of Nursing, Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, and Clinical Services Lead — Matron, Rotherham Hospice, Rotherham. Email: gillian.horne{at}
  2. Jane Seymour is Sue Ryder Care Professor of Palliative and End of Life Studies, University of Nottingham, School of Nursing, Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham
  3. Sheila Payne is Help the Hospices Chair in Hospice Studies, International Observatory on End of Life Care, Institute for Health Research, University of Lancaster.


Current UK law and recent health policies support the use of advance care planning (ACP) to promote patient choice. The literature suggests that little is known about patients’ and their families’ experiences of ACP and the benefits and risks associated with it. ACP is a process that may include discussion and the provision of information and documentation. It may help patients and their families make preparations for end-of-life care. This article describes ACP, with an emphasis on available evidence and its implications. It seeks to provide guidance to practitioners who are interested in using ACP to enhance the end-of-life care experience of patients and their families. It also provides guidance about the timing and initiation of ACP and the information and education that patients and families require before they can engage with the ACP process. N.B. The first author’s PhD research fellowship is funded by Macmillan Cancer Support through its Research Capacity Development Programme. However, the views of the authors do not necessarily reflect those of Macmillan Cancer Support. Conflicts of interest: none

  • Advance care planning
  • Decision-making
  • Documentation
  • Education
  • Mental Capacity Act 2005

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