Maintaining Family Relationships  |  Treatments

14 Commonly Asked Questions about Advance Care Planning


15 January 2021  |   6 min read

1. What is Advance Care Planning (ACP)?

Advance Care Planning (ACP) is the process of planning for your current and future healthcare. ACP helps you to communicate to your loved ones and healthcare team about your values and how these values shape your healthcare preferences. In the event you are unable to make decisions or speak for yourself, your ACP guides your loved ones and healthcare team to make decisions in your best interest.

2. Who needs Advance Care Planning (ACP)?

ACP is an important part of routine healthcare. Anyone can start their ACP today regardless of your age or health condition. Discussing and documenting your healthcare preferences with your loved ones and doctors can give everyone peace of mind.

ACP is particularly important for people who have a chronic illness, an early cognitive impairment, frail, or are approaching the end of life.

3. When should I start Advance Care Planning (ACP)?

Life is unpredictable, and you will never know when you might need your ACP. ACP is a way to plan ahead with your loved ones and doctors. We recommend that everyone, regardless of health status, to start planning for your ACP today.

4. How do I start Advance Care Planning (ACP)?

Click here for more details on how to start your ACP journey.

5. Where can I get my Advance Care Plan done?

ACP may be done at government hospitals, polyclinics and social care providers. Click here to find an ACP provider.

6. Who can I appoint as my voice or “Nominated Healthcare Spokesperson (NHS)”?

ACP also a conversation with the person or people who will represent you if you cannot speak for yourself. Your Nominated Healthcare Spokesperson speaks for you when you do not have capacity to decide for yourself or to communicate your wishes.

Your NHS would ideally:

  • Be at least 21 year-old
  • Be someone who knows you well. For example, a family member or a close friend.
  • Be willing to speak up for your goals and values on your behalf.
  • Be someone you trust and will act in your best interests to tell your doctors about the care you would like to receive should you lose mental capacity.
  • Be someone who can handle stressful situations well.

You may nominate up to two NHS. Both NHS should be clear and in agreement about what your preferences are.

7. What are the differences between Advance Care Planning (ACP), Advance Medical Directive (AMD) and Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?

The ACP, AMD and LPA are different tools, but complementary in helping your loved ones in the event you lose mental capacity.

The LPA appoints a legal donee to look after your financial and/or personal welfare decisions on your behalf. Such matters may include: where you should live, who you should live with, daily lifestyle, and healthcare decisions.

The ACP helps you to discuss and document matters related to your healthcare. It is a broad plan that may include extent of treatment, pain control options, and what to do should your heart suddenly stop. The ACP is broader than the AMD because the AMD only applies if you are terminally ill AND on life sustaining treatment. In such case, the AMD helps you to avoid unnecessary prolonging the inevitable dying process.

8. If I have done my Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) or Advance Medical Directive (AMD), do I need to do Advance Care Planning (ACP)?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) grants your donee legal rights to make decisions for you. But it doesn’t tell your donee what to do for your personal welfare in the event they need to act on your behalf. Advance Care Planning (ACP) helps you to communciate to your loved one, who may also be your donee, about what to do about your personal welfare. Examples of personal welfare matters include: where you should live, who you should live with, daily lifestyle, and healthcare decisions.

An Advance Medical Directive (AMD) only covers your preferences for life prolonging treatment should you lose your mental capacity. However, there are many other aspects that are important for your loved ones and healthcare team to know too. Examples of important healthcare decisions include: pain control options, what to do should your heart suddenly stop, where you would like to be cared for, and where you would like to spend your last days.

9. When will my doctors act on the wishes in my Advance Care Plan?

The objective of ACP is to help you have a say in your healthcare when you no longer have mental capacity. As long as you have mental capacity, you will be consulted on your preferences.

10. Can I change my mind after an Advance Care Planning (ACP) discussion?

Yes, as long as you have mental capacity, you may review your care preferences. Your most up-to-date ACP will replace the previous version. You are encouraged to share any changes with your family and healthcare team.

Contact your ACP service provider to update your Advance Care Plan.

11. Does doing my Advance Care Planning mean that my doctors will not treat me?

No, your doctors are bounded by medical ethics and the law to make sure that your best interests are protected.

Doing your ACP gives you a chance to make plans ahead, and helps the doctors to treat you in your best interests.

12. Do I need a lawyer to do Advance Care Planning (ACP)?

No, you do not need a lawyer to do your ACP.

13. How much is Advance Care Planning (ACP)?

It is best to check the cost with the ACP provider directly.

Please visit the ACP Directory for their contact details.

14. Can I be an ACP facilitator?

ACP facilitators are professionals employed by healthcare or social care organisations. All ACP facilitators are certified by AIC.


The article is republished with permission from Agency for Integrated Care.

Original source: FAQs on ACP