Advanced care plans provide an opportunity for patient choice and self-determination. This article describes the process, outcome and impact of the introduction of an advanced care plan into community and inpatient settings. It demonstrates the usefulness of the tool, and the way in which it improves the chances of people dying in their preferred place of care, particularly when used in the community. It also illustrates the effect on nursing practice of improved patient, family and professional communication, and through that, patient empowerment. It confirms the benefits of integrating evaluation into new initiatives, which facilitates useful feedback to stakeholders.