Advance Care Planning: An Introduction for Public Health and Aging Services Professionals

More About This Course

Target Audience

The primary audience for the Advance Care Planning course is public health and aging services professionals who serve adults and their families.

Secondary audiences are a variety of community-based professionals including, but not limited to, those working with

  • Hospital systems.
  • Hospices.
  • Long-term care facilities.
  • Visiting nurse organizations.
  • Foundations.
  • Organizations representing minority populations, the faith-based community, and people with disabilities.

Though this course was designed to support professionals in their jobs, it might also be helpful to learners personally, as information in this course is relevant to all Americans.

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Specific Course Objectives

Module 1, Making the Case for Advance Care Planning

Module 1 provides critical background information, terminology, and issues related to advance care planning for end of life.

At the end of this first module, you will be able to

  1. Discuss the importance of advance care planning.
  2. Describe the role of public health and aging services professionals in helping consumers plan, in the event they lose the ability to make or communicate their decisions.

Module 2, The Essential Elements

Module 2 introduces various types of advance care planning documents, their evolution and legal foundation, as well as exploration of various laws and requirements within the states.

At the end of this second module, you will be able to

  1. Specify essential elements of effective advance care planning.
  2. Define the terms “declarant,” “health care proxy,” and “advance directive.”
  3. Describe the types of advance care planning documents, their evolution, and legal basis.
  4. Identify the key laws and requirements in your state that are related to advance planning for care at the end of life.

Module 3, Making a Difference

Module 3 focuses on how to make a difference in improving advance care planning for people within various communities and states.

At the end of this third module, you will be able to

  1. Identify the various roles that you can play as a health or aging services professional in improving advance care planning, including helping clients choose a proxy, encouraging preparation of advance directives, sharing resources and tools, and promoting supportive policies.
  2. Discuss ways to start conversations about end-of-life issues.
  3. Explain POLST and its impact on advance care planning.
  4. Distinguish between palliative care and hospice care.

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Completion Time

Course modules are self-paced. Each can take approximately one hour. Learners are encouraged to complete interactive exercises and explore additional resources.

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Continuing Education


CEU:  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is authorized by IACET to offer 0.3 CEU’s for this program.

CECH: Sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a designated provider of continuing education contact hours (CECH) in health education by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. This program is designated for Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES) and/or Master Certified Health Education Specialists (MCHES) to receive up to 2.5 CECH in health education total Category I continuing education contact hours. Maximum advanced level continuing education contact hours available are 0. CDC provider number 98614.

For Certified Public Health Professionals (CPH)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a pre-approved provider of Certified in Public Health (CPH) recertification credits and is authorized to offer 3.0 CPH recertification credits for this program.

CDC is an approved provider of CPH Recertification Credits by the National Board of Public Health Examiners. Effective October 1, 2013, the National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE) accepts continuing education units (CEU) for CPH recertification credits from CDC.  Please select CEU as your choice for continuing education when registering for a course on TCEOnline. Learners seeking CPH should use the guidelines provided by the NBPHE for calculating recertification credits.  For assistance please contact NBPHE at http://www.NBPHE.orgExternal.


In compliance with continuing education requirements, all presenters must disclose any financial or other associations with the manufacturers of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services, or commercial supporters as well as any use of unlabeled product(s) or product(s) under investigational use.

CDC, our planners, content experts, and their spouses/partners wish to disclose they have no financial interests or other relationships with the manufacturers of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services, or commercial supporters. Planners have reviewed content to ensure there is no bias.

Content will not include any discussion of the unlabeled use of a product or a product under investigational use.

CDC did not accept commercial support for this continuing education activity.

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This course was developed as a collaborative effort of the Healthy Aging Program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Directors of Health Promotion and Education (DHPE), and the Center for Practical Bioethics, and is provided free of charge from CDC’s Healthy Aging Program Web site.

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System Requirements

  • Microsoft® Internet Explorer® 5.5 browser (or higher) on standard Microsoft® technologies, i.e. Windows® NT®, Windows® 2000, Windows® XP and Windows® 98
  • JavaScript enabled
  • Popup blocker disabled
  • Intel® Pentium® III Processor
  • 256 MB RAM
  • Broadband Internet connection
  • Adobe Reader for PDF’s
  • Adobe Flash Player

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