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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Acute plans

Ngā whakamaheretanga ohotata

If you're likely to need emergency or after-hours medical care, you may benefit from an acute plan. An acute plan has information about your health condition. It also has information about the recommended treatment if your health suddenly gets worse.

The ambulance service and hospital emergency department can see your acute plan. So can after-hours services and health providers who aren't familiar with you. Your acute plan allows these services to quickly see what your problem is and what treatment you need.

Health professionals involved in your care can create and update an acute plan for you. Acute plans are stored in electronic health records. Only health providers can view them.

Some people who have an acute plan may only have one problem that health professionals need to know about. For example, someone with severe asthma might have an acute plan. If they were to collapse, the plan would tell emergency services what the problem is likely to be, and what the recommended treatment is.

Other people with acute plans have several problems. For example, some people have recurring infections as well as long-term lung disease. Their acute plans tell emergency services what plans are in place if their health gets worse. The plans include whether they prefer to be cared for in hospital or at home. They also include what extra support and treatment are usually needed.

Getting more information

If you think an acute plan would be helpful for you or someone else, talk to your general practice team or specialist healthcare team. For more information about acute plans, see this leaflet from the Canterbury Clinical Network. You can also email

If you want to create a plan for how and where you might receive care at the end of your life, you might want to start a conversation about advance care planning.

Written by the Canterbury Clinical Network Shared Care Planning team. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed June 2021.

Page reference: 43932

Review key: HIYHI-77571