Advance care planning for people with dementia in Western Australia: An examination of the fit between the law and practice

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Abstract

This article examines the ‘fit’ between the Western Australian legislation on advance care planning (ACP) and health professionals’ experiences implementing this in relation to persons with dementia. The legislative provisions are outlined, and a qualitative study of experiences with ACP among 19 health professionals, all engaged in the care of persons with dementia, is described. Based on these interviews, the authors propose three themes: ‘navigating risk’, ‘the therapeutic journey’ and ‘the most agreeable outcome’ to describe current practice in this area. The authors conclude that ACP in this context is aimed at minimising risk, establishing consensus and achieving the ‘most agreeable outcome’ for the
person and their family, rather than privileging the individual autonomy of the person engaging in ACP. The implications for policy and law makers regarding possible reform of ACP in relation to persons with dementia are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalPsychiatry Psychology and Law
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Oct 2017

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Advance Care Planning
Western Australia
dementia
Dementia
examination
planning
Law
human being
health professionals
professional experience
Administrative Personnel
Legislation
Consensus
autonomy
legislation
Interviews
reform
Health
interview
experience

Cite this

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title = "Advance care planning for people with dementia in Western Australia: An examination of the fit between the law and practice",
abstract = "This article examines the ‘fit’ between the Western Australian legislation on advance care planning (ACP) and health professionals’ experiences implementing this in relation to persons with dementia. The legislative provisions are outlined, and a qualitative study of experiences with ACP among 19 health professionals, all engaged in the care of persons with dementia, is described. Based on these interviews, the authors propose three themes: ‘navigating risk’, ‘the therapeutic journey’ and ‘the most agreeable outcome’ to describe current practice in this area. The authors conclude that ACP in this context is aimed at minimising risk, establishing consensus and achieving the ‘most agreeable outcome’ for theperson and their family, rather than privileging the individual autonomy of the person engaging in ACP. The implications for policy and law makers regarding possible reform of ACP in relation to persons with dementia are discussed.",
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