BACKGROUND: Key Information Summaries (KIS) were introduced throughout Scotland in 2013 so that anticipatory care plans written by general practitioners (GPs) could be routinely shared electronically and updated in real time, between GPs and providers of unscheduled and secondary care.
AIMS: We aimed to describe the current reach of anticipatory and palliative care, and to explore GPs' views on using KIS.
METHODS: We studied the primary care records of all patients who died in 2014 in 9 diverse Lothian practices. We identified if anticipatory or palliative care had been started, and if so how many weeks before death and which aspects of care had been documented. We interviewed 10 GPs to understand barriers and facilitating factors.
RESULTS: Overall, 60% of patients were identified for a KIS, a median of 18 }weeks before death. The numbers identified were highest for patients with cancer, with 75% identified compared with 66% of those dying with dementia/frailty and only 41% dying from organ failure. Patients were more likely to die outside hospital if they had a KIS. GPs identified professional, patient and societal challenges in identifying patients for palliative care, especially those with non-cancer diagnoses.
CONCLUSIONS: GPs are identifying patients for anticipatory and palliative care more equitably across the different disease trajectories and earlier in the disease process than they were previously identifying patients specifically for palliative care. However, many patients still lack care planning, particularly those dying with organ failure.
OBJECTIVES: How advance care planning (ACP) is conceptualised in Australia including when, where and how ACP is best initiated, is unclear. It has been suggested that healthcare delivered in general practice provides an optimal setting for initiation of ACP discussions but uptake remains low. This systematic review and critical interpretive synthesis sought to answer two questions: (1) What are the barriers and enablers to uptake of ACP in general practice? (2) What initiatives have been used to increase uptake of ACP in general practice?
DESIGN: A systematic review and critical interpretive synthesis of the peer-reviewed literature was undertaken. A socioecological framework was used to interpret and map the literature across four contextual levels of influence including individual, interpersonal, provider and system levels within a general practice setting.
SETTING: Primary care general practice settings DATA SOURCES: Searches were undertaken from inception to July 2019 across Ovid Medline, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Scopus, ProQuest and Cochrane Library of systematic reviews.
RESULTS: The search yielded 4883 non-duplicate studies which were reduced to 54 studies for synthesis. Year of publication ranged from 1991 to 2019 and represented research from nine countries. Review findings identified a diverse and disaggregated body of ACP literature describing barriers and enablers to ACP in general practice, and interventions testing single or multiple mechanisms to improve ACP generally without explicit consideration for level of influence. There was a lack of cohesive guidance in shaping effective ACP interventions and some early indications of structured approaches emerging.
CONCLUSION: Findings from this review present an opportunity to strategically apply the ACP research evidence across targeted levels of influence, and with an understanding of mediators and moderators to inform the design of new and enhanced ACP models of care in general practice.
PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42018088838.
OBJECTIVE: This study examined advance care planning as delivered by general practice registrars and recently fellowed GPs in New South Wales rural settings. The facilitators and barriers to advance care planning uptake in these areas were investigated, as well as the state of general practice training on advance care planning.
DESIGN: Qualitative descriptive methodology, involving semi-structured face-to-face and telephone interviews.
SETTING: Primary care.
PARTICIPANTS: General practice registrars and recently fellowed GPs in New South Wales rural settings. Definition of rural using the Australian Standard Geographical Classification - Remoteness Area. Thirteen participants were included in the study.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Thematic analysis of interview transcripts elucidated key issues emerging from participants' accounts.
RESULTS: Key barriers included doctor-dependent uptake, demands on doctor's time and the limited relevant resources available. Facilitators recognised were patient control in end-of-life care and long-standing relationships between GPs and their patients. Uptake among patients was low, and minimal training on advance care planning reported.
CONCLUSION: The lack of training opportunities in advance care planning during vocational training, especially when combined with the essential role played by rural GPs in initiating advance care planning and providing end-of-life care, appears to be a major problem that might contribute to poor uptake among patients in rural areas. This study demonstrated, however, the significant benefits that advance care planning could bring in patients living in rural communities if delivered effectively. Given that rural GPs face a number of barriers to providing routine health care, these results highlight an important need to provide GPs and rural communities with support, education, incentive, better administrative tools, options and greater awareness of advance care planning.
BACKGROUND: Advance care planning (ACP) can offer benefits to patients and their families, especially when delivered in outpatient settings, but uptake remains low. Common barriers for health professionals include a perceived lack of time and adequate training, experience, and confidence in conducting ACP. Patient-reported barriers include a lack of awareness of ACP or discomfort initiating or engaging in discussions about end-of-life.
METHODS: We aimed to explore patients' perspectives of an ACP intervention designed to address common barriers to uptake in the general practice setting. We provided training and support to doctors and general practice nurses (GPNs) to initiate and lead ACP discussions at their respective practices (2014 to 2015). Following the intervention, we conducted interviews with patients to explore their experience of engaging in ACP in the general practice setting. Thematic analysis was used to inductively code transcripts and identify key themes from semi-structured interviews with patients.
RESULTS: Six major themes relating to patient experiences of GPN-facilitated ACP were identified: working through ideas, therapeutic relationship with nurses, significance of making wishes known, protecting family from burden, autonomy in decision-making, and challenges of family communication. The patients valued the opportunity to speak about issues that are important to them with the GPN who they found to be compassionate and caring. The patients felt that ACP would lead to significant benefits not only to themselves but also for their family. Despite encouragement to involve other family members, most patients attended the ACP discussions alone or as a couple; many did not see the relevance of their family being involved in the discussions. Some patients felt uncomfortable or reluctant in communicating the results of their discussion with their family.
CONCLUSIONS: With adequate training and support, GPNs are able to initiate and facilitate ACP conversations with patients. Their involvement in ACP can have significant benefits for patients. Psychosocial and relational elements of care are critical to patient satisfaction. Our findings show that some patients may feel uncomfortable or reluctant to communicate the results of their ACP discussions with their family. A future larger study is required to verify the findings of this pilot study.