Electronic ACP solution live across the region

News
09 Sep 2020

A digital solution designed to capture conversations around Advance Care Planning (ACP) has gone live across the South Island.

The ACP Progress Note provides a single, regional solution for clinicians to document and access important discussions with patients about their future health care planning and end-of-life wishes.

Canterbury Initiative ACP Facilitator Jane Goodwin says it’s a consistent way for clinicians to log those conversations, which can then be electronically shared securely. “Advance care planning conversations don’t always lead to a person creating or completing an ACPlan. So, the ACP Progress Note allows clinicians to document discussions in a consistent location that can be accessed by other health care staff across the sector.”

Canterbury DHB initially had a locally-developed version of electronic progress notes. The improved South Island version enables health care professionals using HealthOne and Health Connect South to record or document ACP conversation with the patient.

Conversations about what’s important to a person and their priorities for care if they become unwell are even more important in the current environment – especially if a person has underlying medical conditions, Jane says. “For example, a man with terminal melanoma was referred to our team for support to create his ACPlan. We used the ACP Progress Note to capture our phone conversations ahead of the home visit.

“Unfortunately, a couple of days before that appointment, he had a significant stroke and could no longer communicate his wishes. Discussions with his whānau and the information captured in the ACP Progress Note helped the medical team ensure his care aligned with his preferences.”

The ACP Progress Note was fast-tracked during the pandemic to include the newly-released national Serious Illness Conversations Guide (SICG), providing a consistent regional solution to the electronic capture of these important discussions – either as a free text electronic record or using the SICG template (embedded in ACP Progress Notes) to support the conversation. This could include discussions with critically ill patients during COVID-19 restrictions.

Helen Sawyer, Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Specialist at Southern DHB, says the tool provides a convenient way to document a conversation that couldn’t be formalised in any other way at the time. “It’s easy to use, find and read – so we can easily record discussions with our patients, that will contribute to the development of their ACPlan.”