Barnet Post

Barnet Post

Healthwatch Barnet: Why you need to think about ACP

Planning healthcare in advance has many benefits and is worth discussing with your GP, says Healthwatch Barnet

Hero for Healthwatch Barnet: Why you need to think about ACP
(Credit: Hush Naidoo Jade Photography/Unsplash)
By Yasmin Rahman 24 February 2022

Do you know what ACP is? ACP stands for Advance Care Planning, and it is one of the most important things you’ll discuss with your GP. Do you know what ACP is? ACP stands for Advance Care Planning, and it is one of the most important things you’ll discuss with your GP. 

Advance care planning conversations are held between patients – of any age – who may have significant health issues, and their family and healthcare professionals. They’re to find out about people’s future wishes and their care priorities. Advance care planning conversations are held between patients – of any age – who may have significant health issues, and their family and healthcare professionals. They’re to find out about people’s future wishes and their care priorities. 

However, timing can often stop people from having these important conversations. There are also cultural or religious taboos that make us unwilling to talk about the end of our lives. “I don’t think the English are particularly good at talking about death," one Barnet resident said in a focus group about ACP, "I think there is enormous pressure on the family to keep someone going for as long as possible irrespective of the individual’s dignity and wellbeing.” However, timing can often stop people from having these important conversations. There are also cultural or religious taboos that make us unwilling to talk about the end of our lives. “I don’t think the English are particularly good at talking about death," one Barnet resident said in a focus group about ACP, "I think there is enormous pressure on the family to keep someone going for as long as possible irrespective of the individual’s dignity and wellbeing.” 

Due to the pandemic, we found too that people are also very conscious of the time pressures facing GPs and try to avoid taking up too much of their time. Due to the pandemic, we found too that people are also very conscious of the time pressures facing GPs and try to avoid taking up too much of their time. 

In order to ensure that ACP conversations occur more easily, we’ll be making a series of recommendations and setting out how these can be implemented. Changes will include steps to raise awareness of ACP; the creation of new print and other materials to let people consider the topic at their leisure, also thereby improving accessibility for those who are digitally excluded, hard of hearing or deaf. And there’ll be more work around making the system work for people as individuals. In order to ensure that ACP conversations occur more easily, we’ll be making a series of recommendations and setting out how these can be implemented. Changes will include steps to raise awareness of ACP; the creation of new print and other materials to let people consider the topic at their leisure, also thereby improving accessibility for those who are digitally excluded, hard of hearing or deaf. And there’ll be more work around making the system work for people as individuals. 

If you’d like to share your thoughts and experiences with us, my email is [email protected] If you’d like to share your thoughts and experiences with us, my email is [email protected]