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Nurses Nationwide Are Leading By Example In A National Initiative Promoting Advance Care Planning - #ISaidWhatIWant


Nursing specialty organizations representing more than 700,000 healthcare professionals have joined together to promote advance care planning. The initiative,

led by the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA), encourages all nurses to lead by example by establishing their own advance care plan.

Advance care planning (ACP) is a process for patients and their families to discuss their wishes and goals of care for treatment and end-of-life care, clarify related values and goals, and state preferences through written documents and medical orders (Institute of Medicine). This process can start at any time and be revisited periodically but becomes more focused as health status changes. In situations where a patient's decision-making capacity is limited, healthcare providers turn to family members to make decisions. When there have been no ACP conversations between the patient and family, family members are left to make decisions regarding life-sustaining treatment without input from the patient or with little knowledge of the patient's wishes.

This ACP initiative tagged "#ISaidWhatIWant," was developed in response to the work done at the 2017 Palliative Nursing Summit hosted by HPNA. The event brought nurses together from various specialties to develop a collaborative agenda regarding ACP, pain and symptom management, and transitions/coordination of care.

Participating organizations the formed work teams to develop programs that will seek to engage nurses in targeted initiatives to enhance the care and outcomes for patients and their families.

The summit final report states that nurses should take a lead role in providing more community education and training related to ACP. While all members of the interdisciplinary team provide patient care and engage in treatment discussions, due to the amount of time and ongoing conversations that nurses routinely have with patients, nurses are in a unique position to champion ACP.

"We want to help nurses and the public realize the true value of advance care planning and advance directives," said Sally Welsh, HPNA CEO. "Having your wishes known and sharing your wishes with your family can be a great gift to family members if they ever have to make difficult healthcare decisions on your behalf." For further information and a list of online resources on ACP, visit

[photo credit: Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association ]

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