Never the right time: advance care planning with frail and older people.


inTroduCTion Care of the dying is inadequate in many developed countries, and its improvement is an important national and international challenge. Around 500 000 people die in England every year, of whom 53% die in hospital even though 63% indicate a preference to die at home.2 Although palliative care services have been available for many years for people with cancer, most people do not die of cancer. Other conditions, including multimorbidity and extreme old age, tend to have a less predictable course and such patients are less likely to be found on a GP’s palliative care register. Do older patients really have a voice when it comes to planning their future care? In the first ever systematic review of attitudes of the public and healthcare professionals to advance care planning, Sharp et al find there are some critical barriers to be overcome if we are to translate the concept of ‘advance care planning’ from its origins in palliative care for cancer to frail older people who are dying.3 We know what we ‘should be doing’. Why aren’t we doing it? In this editorial we examine the opportunities and challenges of advance care planning in the context of a much needed national conversation about death and dying.4

DOI: 10.3399/bjgp13X673568

Cite this paper

@article{Eynon2013NeverTR, title={Never the right time: advance care planning with frail and older people.}, author={Theresa Eynon and Mayur K Lakhani and Richard Baker}, journal={The British journal of general practice : the journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners}, year={2013}, volume={63 615}, pages={511-2} }