POV: Why ACPs Matter Personally and Organizationally

June 20, 2023
2 min
Julie Jaroscak, RT(R), Patient Advocate

I am fortunate to have a family where I have witnessed all my grandparents die peacefully and on their own terms.  It is one of life's greatest gifts.  They each accessed the care they needed for their health.  When their quality of life was no longer consistent with their wishes; they received the care they needed to transition out of this life peacefully with minimal pain. This peace was extended to the patient and their family members.

Professionally, I have seen the exact opposite.  Precious resources are used in ways that are not helpful, patients are not at peace, and entire generations of a family are traumatized.  Some families are never able to reconcile with each other.  Death becomes more stigmatized.  Hospitals and care centers are more disliked.  Length of stays increase and readmissions occur more frequently.  All are costly and unbeneficial for both the patient and the healthcare organizations.  Ownership of one's care plan is important.  Both to the patient and generationally to their families.  Once families make death less taboo, family trauma around it will decrease.

It is imperative that healthcare organizations scale up around advanced care planning in a uniform way. Advanced care planning is essential to ensure patients die peacefully and families are not traumatized. Healthcare organizations should scale up ACPs to save time, money, and increase satisfaction.