The NHS reports that more than half a million people receive palliative and end-of-life care each year. The discussion around how to treat patients with this can be difficult for all involved.

Advance Care Planning (ACP) services aim to make decision-making more supportive and give people the opportunity to plan their future. This blog will discuss what ACP involves and what technologies can be used to improve patient experience and support during palliative care.

What Is Advanced Care Planning? 

ACP offers people the chance to plan their future care and treatment. Following the 2005 Mental Capacity Act, ACP gives people the freedom to decide their own care plan. This is especially relevant for people at risk of losing mental capacity through progressive illness and who have mental illnesses with varying mental capacity.

ACP is an important element of medical decision-making within the NHS and ensures people receive the care they require, especially during end-of-life care. This gives patients the power to:

  • Make advance statements: Include any information and wishes the person considers important to their future health and care.

  • Seek legal assistance: This provides the legal authority to make decisions about health, property and future finances.

  • Refuse treatment in advance: Decisions to refuse specific medical treatments in the event of mental capacity decline can be legally binding through an ACP. This must be treated with the utmost sensitivity by care providers.

How Can Digital Services Improve Experience?

Health systems and authorities continually adopt innovative health technologies to improve palliative care systems. Care providers can improve patient experience during their advanced care journeys by using up-to-date technology.

By facilitating more ways of using data and technology, health services can enhance the quality of ACP care and reduce the overall capacity of hospital wards. The latest technological tools that can improve the ACP process include:

  • Digital health records: By keeping records of all decision-making history and information, carers in residential homes can easily access patient data. This holistic approach can increase the accuracy of everyday care.

  • Coordinate My Care (CMC) systems: This digital NHS service coordinates urgent care for patients. Information on a patient care record can be directly forwarded to all the urgent care services. It includes 111, ambulance services, out-of-hours GPs and emergency departments.

  • Personalised support programmes for decision making: A comprehensive database of decision aids for ACP can help support patients struggling to make difficult decisions.

Using Artificial Technology for Palliative Care

The quality of care and patient satisfaction can be improved by making end-of-life care decisions more accessible through technology. Advanced technology, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) programmes can make end-of-life care more comfortable for the patient. 

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a lung condition that affects more than 1.2 million people in the UK. It is projected to become the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2030. Introduced in January 2022, three NHS-funded machine learning models were rolled out to help treat COPD more effectively.

Used to decrease a patient's risk of a flare-up, hospital admission and mortality, this digital platform enables at-home management. This provides help and advice for the most severe symptoms and early discharge support. 

Initially trialled in Scotland, the rollout resulted in an estimated 28% reduction in hospital admissions from patients with COPD. As well as this, the platform helped provide on-demand support to patients from their homes, sustaining patient engagement.


Learn More About Advanced Care Innovation

Health services can improve costs and capacity across the service by investing in effective and automated patient engagement platforms. The latest care innovation in the NHS can be rolled out to improve ACP support for patients with life-limiting conditions. 

To learn more about the latest innovations in ACP care, register for your free place at the HETT Show 2022.

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