Advance care planning in Dutch primary care: a pre/postimplementation study

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Despite known advantages of advance care planning (ACP) and a positive attitude towards ACP by older people living in the community and general practitioners (GPs), such conversations are not yet commonplace in GP practices.
To implement ACP as part of routine care in general practice and thereby increasing the number of ACP conversations and advance directives; to investigate characteristics of older people with and without an ACP conversation.
(1) A pre-evaluation and postevaluation study using questionnaire data from
people aged 75 years or older living in the community. (2) A prospective study using data provided by healthcare professionals (people they started an ACP conversation with).
After implementation of ACP, significantly more people had spoken to their GP about hospitalisations, intensive care admission and treatment preferences in certain circumstances, compared with before. Advance directives were drawn up more often. People who had an ACP conversation were older, have had a cerebrovascular accident, had a clear idea about future health problems, had a preference to start ACP before they were ill, already had an ACP conversation at pre-measurement and indicated at pre-measurement that their GP knows their preferences.
Results in number of ACP conversations and advance drectives were modest but positive. ACP was implemented as routine care. GPs select people with whom they have a conversation. This can be an efficient use of time, but there is a risk that certain groups may be underserved (for example, patients with multimorbidity or patients with less health skills).
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMJ supportive & palliative care
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2021


  • chronic conditions
  • communication
  • service evaluation

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