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This was an innovation project supported by the former Better Care Victoria Innovation Fund.

Lead organisations

  • Bendigo Health
  • Monash University
  • Murray Primary Health Network


Bendigo Primary Care Centre


Advance care planning encourage consumers to consider and document preferences for their future healthcare before such decisions need to be made. This can give them increased choice and control over their end-of-life decisions and prevent unwanted and potentially distressing medical treatment and hospitalisation. 

To improve their accessibility and use, Bendigo Health, Monash University and Murray Primary Health Network collaborated to identify and address barriers to the uptake and communication of Advance Care Plans (ACPs) in regional and rural Victoria.  


  • Identify and address the barriers to the uptake and development of ACPs in primary healthcare services
  • Develop a system to enhance communication of ACPs to Bendigo Health


  • Identified the following barriers to ACP development and communication:
    • system challenges
    • societal attitudes to death and dying
    • the unique relationship between patients and their long-term rural healthcare providers
  • Measurably improved healthcare professionals’ advance care planning knowledge through targeted education
  • Developed a new advance care planning protocol and guidelines, and a secure and direct communications strategy based on feedback from health professionals and the community
  • Within six months, saw a 52 per cent increase in the average number of ACPs received per month at Bendigo Health for patients aged 75 and over


March 2019 – This project has strengthened Bendigo Health’s relationships with primary health centres, and the health service continues to monitor advance care planning documentation and provide feedback to these clinics.

The health service is also providing ongoing advance care planning education to primary health centres and consumer groups.

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