Is there any guidance on discussing advance care plans with patients and their relatives during the COVID-19 outbreak?

The GMC and NMC published a joint statement on 15 April 2020 to guide those undertaking discussions about advance care plans (ACPs) and do not attempt resuscitation (DNAR) decisions with patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The central point in the joint guidance is that it is imperative that discussions and decisions made are undertaken on an individual basis. Patients and their families (if they are invited to take part in discussions) need to be able to talk about their needs, wishes and concerns. They may need support and/or written information to help them make a decision and this should be provided.

The guidance is explicit in warning that it is not appropriate to approach making decisions on a group basis. It also advises reassuring patients that DNAR decisions do not mean that other forms of treatment won't be available. If the discussion covers what those might be, they can form part of the ACP.

This page was correct at publication on 22/04/2020. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

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