Advance care planning in the elderly

Med Clin North Am. 2015 Mar;99(2):391-403. doi: 10.1016/j.mcna.2014.11.010. Epub 2014 Dec 23.


Key components of advance care planning (ACP) for the elderly include choosing a surrogate decision maker, identifying personal values, communicating with surrogates and clinicians, documenting wishes in advance directives, and translating values and preferences for future medical care into medical orders. ACP often involves multiple brief discussions over time. This article outlines common benefits and barriers to ACP in primary care, and provides practical approaches to integrating key ACP components into primary care for older adults. Opportunities for multidisciplinary teams to incorporate ACP into brief clinic visits are highlighted.

Keywords: Advance care planning; Advance directives; Communication; Patient-doctor relationship; Surrogate decision maker.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Advance Care Planning / organization & administration*
  • Advance Directives
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Communication Barriers
  • Humans
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Quality of Life