Background/Aims Advanced care plans (ACP’s) in paediatrics offer families an opportunity to plan for intercurrent health issues as well as possible deterioration in a child or young person (CYP) with a life limiting condition. It allows the family some control, ensuring the child or young person receives the most appropriate care. The use of ACP’s has increased in recent years but there are still many families where a CYP with life limiting illness has not got an ACP. This can be for many reasons, one of which is a lack of awareness and confidence in health care professionals surrounding ACP’s.
Methods A local survey was carried out looking at consultants understanding of ACPs. This was followed by an audit which demonstrated a lack of ACP’s for those attending the local children’s hospice. It was concluded that education and training opportunities needed to be developed in an attempt to ensure that all families who may benefit from an ACP were offered one.
Results The survey demonstrated that several consultants had personal barriers as well as misconceptions around ACP’s. The audit identified that of the 125 young CYP that used the hospice, and so by definition may benefit from an ACP only 25 had completed ACP’s with an additional 6 having a variation called an emergency care plan.
The response has been to develop an e-learning module for medical staff (trainees and consultants) to introduce the idea and aims of ACP’s in addition to trying to overcome some of the barriers to completing an ACP. It includes information about who may benefit and when to introduce the topic of ACP’s as well as practical advice about completing one. The content within the emodule has been piloted with students and trainees and feedback sought.
Conclusion The expectation is that with increased awareness of the benefits of ACP’s and dispelling some of the myths, more children, young people and families can access this tool. The aim of which is to improve the CYP’s quality of life and to offer some control in a situation where there may be little certainty.
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