RCUK jointly publishes Universal Principles for Advance Care Planning.

The Universal Principles for Advance Care Planning has been jointly published today by a coalition of 28 partner organisations, in response to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) report ‘Protect, Connect, Respect – decisions about living and dying well’ (2021).  

The CQC report included recommendations for a consistent national approach to advance care planning (ACP), which should enable all people and health and care professionals involved to share the same understanding and expectations of ACP.  

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) set up a Ministerial Oversight Group to provide assurances that progress was being made towards implementing the recommendations of that report.  

The guide aims to sets out 6 high-level principles for a personalised approach to advance care planning in England:  

The six principles are: 

  1. The person is central to developing and agreeing their advance care plan including deciding who else should be involved in the process. 
  2. The person has personalised conversations about their future care focused on what matters to them and their needs. 
  3. The person agrees the outcomes of their advance care planning conversation through a shared decision making process in partnership with relevant professionals. 
  4. The person has a shareable advance care plan which records what matters to them, and their preferences and decisions about future care and treatment. 
  5. The person has the opportunity, and is encouraged, to review and revise their advance care plan. 
  6. Anyone involved in advance care planning is able to speak up if they feel that these universal principles are not being followed. 

The document is for the person, those important to them, practitioners and organisations involved in supporting advance care planning conversations and honouring their outcomes. The publication identifies the benefits of ACP for all involved and outlines pre-requisites for good practice for each of these areas of Advance Care Planning.  

Resuscitation Council UK (RCUK) is pleased to be one of the 28 named organisations who have supported the development of, and contributed towards, this publication and the Ministerial Oversight Group.  

It is important to see the recognition for the Recommended Summary Plan for Emergency Care and Treatment (ReSPECT) Process as a tool to complement person-led ACP conversations, and reference to our joint guidance on ‘Decisions relating to cardiopulmonary resuscitation,’ developed in conjunction with the British Medical Association and Royal College of Nursing, within the Universal Principles publication. 

In response to the framework’s publication, Sue Hampshire, Director of Clinical and Service Development at Resuscitation Council UK, said: 

“Advance care planning is a voluntary process of person-centred discussion between an individual and their care providers about their preferences and priorities for future care. It is likely to involve several conversations over time and with whoever the person wishes to involve. 

“When advance care planning is done well, people feel they have had the opportunity to plan for their future care, and more confident that their care and treatment will be focused on what matters most to them. This captures what we are aiming to achieve in our leadership of the ReSPECT Process nationally. 

“We look forward to seeing the impact of these Universal Principles to drive improvements in Advance Care Planning throughout England.”