AIMS: To describe advance care planning in nursing homes when residents with cognitive impairment and/or their next of kin participated and identify associated challenges.
DESIGN: A qualitative study of nine advance care planning conversations in four Norwegian nursing home wards. During the implementation of advance care planning, we purposively sampled residents with cognitive impairment, their next of kin and healthcare personnel. The implementation followed a "whole-ward" approach aimed at involving the whole ward in fostering an inclusive, holistic advance care planning discussion. Involving as many residents as possible, preferably together with their next of kin, were central.
METHODS: From observed and audio-recorded advance care planning conversations that took place from November 2015 to June 2016, we conducted a thematic analysis of the transcripts and field notes. Reporting adhered to the COREQ guidelines.
RESULTS: Residents actively relayed their preferences regarding healthcare and end-of-life issues, despite the cognitive impairment. Next of kin provided constructive support and conversations were largely resident-focused. However, involving residents was also challenging, findings included: residents' preferences were often vague, relevant medical information from healthcare personnel lacked and the next of kin were sometimes unaware of the resident's previously held preferences. Moreover, residents tended to focus more on the past and present than the future end-of-life care.
CONCLUSIONS: Residents with cognitive impairment can participate actively and meaningfully in advance care planning, if the healthcare personnel actively listens. However, several challenges can arise. Supported decision-making can improve communication and resident involvement, reinforcing a relational understanding of autonomy.
IMPACT: Persons with cognitive impairment should be invited to participate in advance care planning. Their participation may make its benefits and more person-centred care attainable to persons that are often not involved. Successful involvement of persons with cognitive impairment in advance care planning may rely on robust implementation.
BACKGROUND: The low completion rate of advance directives (ADs) has received attention in Japan and the United States, as policy makers and health care professionals face aging populations with multiple comorbidities. Among the barriers to AD planning, cultural values and attitudes appear to be particularly influential. A comparison of culturally distinct societies provides a deeper understanding of these barriers. Through such an approach, this study identifies strategies for increasing AD planning among late-middle-age Japanese and US individuals.
METHODS: After giving informed consent for the Institutional Review Board-approved study, Japanese and US respondents (45-65 y; 50% female) without ADs completed a language-appropriate online survey. Participants were asked to review a decision aid as part of a scenario-based physician consultation regarding artificial nutrition and hydration (ANH). Hypotheses were analyzed using multigroup structural equation modeling.
RESULTS: Important similarities were identified across the 2 groups. After reviewing the decision aid, both samples strongly preferred "no ANH." Respondents who strongly valued either self-reliance or interpersonal relationships experienced greater preparedness for AD planning. In both countries, greater decision preparedness and positive death attitude predicted greater confidence to discuss care options with a provider. Finally, cultural values predicted preference for family participation: respondents with a strong interdependent self-concept desired more family involvement, whereas high independents preferred less.
CONCLUSIONS: Findings indicate the importance of documenting care preferences and accounting for individual differences. To increase AD adoption, providers should identify patient segments likely to benefit most from the interventions. Targeting individuals in both countries who value self-reliance and interpersonal relationships appears to be a good place to begin. Such individuals can be identified clinically through administration of validated measures used in this study.
OBJECTIVE: Patients with advanced diseases and frail older adults often face decisions regarding life-prolonging treatment. Our aim was to provide an overview of the feasibility and effectiveness of tools that support communication between healthcare professionals and patients regarding decisions on life-prolonging treatments in hospital settings.
DESIGN: Systematic review: We searched PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Embase, Cochrane Library and Google Scholar (2009-2019) to identify studies that reported feasibility or effectiveness of tools that support communication about life-prolonging treatments in adult patients with advanced diseases or frail older adults in hospital settings. The Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool was used for quality appraisal of the included studies.
RESULTS: Seven studies were included, all involving patients with advanced cancer. The overall methodological quality of the included studies was moderate to high. Five studies described question prompt lists (QPLs), either as a stand-alone tool or as part of a multifaceted programme; two studies described decision aids (DAs). All QPLs and one DA were considered feasible by both patients with advanced cancer and healthcare professionals. Two studies reported on the effectiveness of QPL use, revealing a decrease in patient anxiety and an increase in cues for discussing end-of-life care with physicians. The effectiveness of one DA was reported; it led to more understanding of the treatment in patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Use of QPLs or DAs, as a single intervention or part of a programme, may help in communicating about treatment options with patients, which is an important precondition for making informed decisions.
Les infirmiers peuvent apporter une aide à la décision dans les situations d’urgence lors d’un choc septique, notamment si le malade n’a pas rédigé de directives anticipées et/ou désigné une personne de confiance. Ils peuvent entreprendre ou faciliter la collégialité des décisions nécessaires sur le plan juridique et éthique. Les habitus d’une équipe à la réflexion éthique et au recueil de données initial sont les garants du respect de la parole du patient.
BACKGROUND: Surrogate decision makers of stroke patients are often unprepared to make critical decisions on life-sustaining treatments. We describe the development process and key features for the Understanding Stroke web-based decision support tool.
METHODS: We used multiple strategies to develop a patient-centered, tailored decision aid. We began by forming a Patient and Family Advisory Council to provide continuous input to our multidisciplinary team on the development of the tool. Additionally, focus groups consisting of nurses, therapists, social workers, physicians, stroke survivors, and family members reviewed key elements of the tool, including prognostic information, graphical displays, and values clarification exercise. To design the values clarification exercise, we asked focus groups to provide feedback on a list of important activities of daily living. An ordinal prognostic model was developed for ischemic stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage using data taken from the Virtual International Stroke Trials Archive Plus, and incorporated into the tool.
RESULTS: Focus group participants recommended making numeric prognostic information optional due to possible emotional distress. Pie charts were generally favored by participants for graphical presentation of prognostic information, though a horizontal stacked bar chart was also added due to its prevalence in stroke literature. Plain language descriptions of the modified Rankin Scale were created to accompany the prognostic information. A values clarification exercise was developed consisting of a list of 13 situations that may make an individual consider comfort measures only. The final version of the web based tool (which can be viewed on tablets) included the following sections: general introduction to stroke, outcomes (prognostic information and recovery), in-hospital and life-sustaining treatments, decision making and values clarification, post-hospital care, tips for talking to the health care team, and a summary report. Preliminary usability testing received generally favorable feedback.
CONCLUSION: We developed Understanding Stroke, a tailored decision support tool for surrogate decision makers of stroke patients. The tool was well received and will be formally pilot tested in a group of stroke surrogate decision makers.
BACKGROUND: In 2019, the Patient Autonomy Act went into effect, allowing Taiwanese citizens to establish legal advance decisions. In an effort to secure a more realistic and accurate perception of situations, a virtual reality video was developed by the palliative care team of Chi-Mei hospital in southern Taiwan for citizens to use before advance care planning. This study explores the change in participants' preference and certainty regarding end-of-life decisions after using this tool.
METHODS: Participants were at least 20 years old and capable of reading and understanding the information provided in the written handout with information about the legal process of making an advance decision. They completed pre-test questionnaires, viewed a six-minute 360-degree virtual reality video on a portable headset, and then completed a post-test questionnaire about their preference on the five medical options-CPR, life-sustaining treatments, antibiotics, blood transfusion, and artificial nutrition and hydration-followed by feedback on the helpfulness of the virtual reality. The control group included 40 participants who only read the handout and completed pre-test and post-test questionnaires.
RESULTS: After viewing the virtual reality video, preference for not using CPR, life-sustaining treatment, antibiotics, blood transfusion, and artificial nutrition and hydration increased significantly in the virtual reality intervention group. Uncertainty regarding the five medical options mentioned above significantly decreased. The intervention was generally recognized by participants for its help in making decisions.
DISCUSSION: The decrease in the number of participants who could not make decisions indicates that the virtual reality video may be helpful for users in making end-of-life decision. According to feedback, the virtual reality video helped equip users with better understanding of medical scenarios, and that it is a good decision tool for advance care planning.
CONCLUSION: This is the first study since the Patient Autonomy Act has been passed that explores the effectiveness of using a virtual reality video as a decision tool in advance care planning and reveals decreased preference of CPR, life sustaining treatment, antibiotics, blood transfusion, and artificial nutrition and hydration after intervention. This decision aid proved to be an effective tool for clarifying their end-of-life care preferences.
Informed consent forms have been useful in clinical practice and they constitute a part of the shared decision making in the informed consent process. They provide information to patients about clinical procedures and techniques. They also act as a remainder of the information discussed after the medical interview. Sometimes these documents are not readable to everybody. Belgian law specifies that all information that patients receive has to be proportionate verbally, but written information is also handled. The present research analyzes the readability of the Flemish informed consent forms located in the webs of all General Hospitals using a simple random sample of 75 informed consent forms., By using the Douma tool, which bases its analysis in the length of words and sentences, the readability mean of the sample was 46, level “Difficult”. The 59% of them had a difficult level. The 11% were normal. It is a fact, then, that the 59% of the informed consent forms evaluated in this study are not suitable for everybody in Flanders, especially those people with low literacy. There were some researches made in other countries that agreed with these results. Written clinical information was poorly written so the informed consent forms were not working helping patients to recall information nor helping patients to become a part in the shared decision making about their health. The use of readability formulas represented a simple way to discriminate those informed consent forms that had normal readability scores from those that should be adapted.
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) is recommended as a preferred practice for advance care planning with seriously ill patients. Decision aids can assist patients in advance care planning, but there are limited studies on their use for POLST decisions. We hypothesized that after viewing a POLST video, decision aid participants would demonstrate increased knowledge and satisfaction and decreased decisional conflict.
DESIGN: Pre-and postintervention with no control group.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Fifty community-dwelling adults aged 65 and older asked to complete a POLST based on a hypothetical condition.
INTERVENTIONS: Video decision aid for Sections A and B of the POLST form.
MEASUREMENTS: Pre- and postintervention participant knowledge, decisional satisfaction, decisional conflict, and acceptability of video decision aid.
RESULTS: Use of the video decision aid increased knowledge scores from 11.24 ± 2.77 to 14.32 ± 2.89, P < .001, improved decisional satisfaction 10.14 ± 3.73 to 8.70 ± 3.00, P = .001, and decreased decisional conflict 12 ± 9.42 to 8.15 ± 9.13, P < .001. All participants reported that they were comfortable using the video decision aid, that they would recommend it to others, and that it clarified POLST decisions.
CONCLUSIONS: Participants endorsed the use of a POLST video decision aid, which increased their knowledge of POLST form options and satisfaction with their decisions, and decreased their decisional conflict in POLST completion. This pilot study provides preliminary support for the use of video decision aids for POLST decision-making. Future research should evaluate a decision aid for the entire POLST form and identify patient preferences for implementing POLST decision aids into clinical practice.
Background: Patients with advanced cancer for whom standard systemic treatment is no longer available may be offered participation in early phase clinical trials. In the decision making process, both medical-technical information and patient values and preferences are important. Since patients report decisional conflict after deciding on participation in these trials, improving the decision making process is essential. We aim to develop and evaluate an Online Value Clarification Tool (OnVaCT) to assist patients in clarifying their values around this end-of-life decision. This improved sharing of values is hypothesized to support medical oncologists in tailoring their information to individual patients’ needs and, consequently, to support patients in taking decisions in line with their values and reduce decisional conflict.
Methods: In the first part, patients’ values and preferences and medical oncologists’ views hereupon will be explored in interviews and focus groups to build a first prototype OnVaCT using digital communication (serious gaming). Next, we will test feasibility during think aloud sessions, to deliver a ready-to-implement OnVaCT. In the second part, the OnVaCT, with accompanied training module, will be evaluated in a pre-test (12–18 months before implementation) post-test (12–18 months after implementation) study in three major Dutch cancer centres. We will include 276 patients (> 18 years) with advanced cancer for whom standard systemic therapy is no longer available, and who are referred for participation in early phase clinical trials. The first consultation will be recorded to analyse patient-physician communication regarding the discussion of patients’ values and the decision making process. Three weeks afterwards, decisional conflict will be measured.
Discussion: This project aims to support the discussion of patient values when considering participation in early phase clinical trials. By including patients before their first appointment with the medical oncologist and recording that consultation, we are able to link decisional conflict to the decision making process, e.g. the communication during consultation. The study faces challenges such as timely including patients within the short period between referral and first consultation. Furthermore, with new treatments being developed rapidly, molecular stratification may affect the patient populations included in the pre-test and post-test periods.
BACKGROUND: Recent studies have shown substantial deficiencies in the quality or quantity (or both) of communication and decision-making during serious illness. We evaluated the efficacy of a novel decision support intervention, the Plan Well Guide, in increasing completion of a standard medical order form for advance medical care planning and improving decisional outcomes in nonacademic primary care settings.
METHODS: We conducted a randomized trial in 3 primary care practices in Lethbridge, Alberta in 2017-2018. We recruited "patients at high risk" referred by the primary care doctor who required establishment or review of their Goals of Care Designation (GCD). Enrolled patients were randomly allocated to receive the Plan Well Guide, delivered by a trained facilitator, or usual care. Eight to 12 weeks after the intervention, a research assistant blinded to intervention assignment contacted the patients in both groups by telephone to do a final outcome assessment. The primary outcome was completion of GCD forms; secondary outcomes included decisional conflict scores and ratings of satisfaction.
RESULTS: A total of 123 patients (59 women [48.0%]; mean age 73.9 yr) were enrolled, 66 in the intervention arm and 57 in the usualcare arm; 119 patients completed the trial. After the intervention, GCD completion rates in the intervention and usual-care groups were 95.3% and 90.9%, respectively (risk difference [RD] 4%, 95% confidence interval [CI] -14% to 22%), and the rate of concordance between medical orders and expressed preferences on follow-up was 78% and 66%, respectively (RD 12%, 95% CI -7% to 30%). Significantly fewer patients in the intervention group than in the usual-care group had written medical orders for intensive care unit care and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (22 [34%] v. 33 [60%], RD -26%, 95% CI -42% to -8%). Patients in the intervention group had lower decisional conflict scores than those in the usual-care group (mean 30.9 v. 43.1, adjusted mean difference -12.0, 95% CI -23.2 to -0.8). Physicians considered patients in the intervention group to have lower decisional conflict than those in the usual-care group, although not significantly so (mean score 10.4 v. 14.9, adjusted mean difference -4.7, 95% CI -9.9 to 0.4) and spent less time with the former (mean 9.7 v. 13.2 min, adjusted mean difference -3.5, 95% CI -5.5 to -1.5 min).
INTERPRETATION: The decision-support intervention did not increase GCD completion rates but did seem to improve some aspects of decisional quality while reducing the physician's time to accomplish GCD decisions.
Background: Adolescents with brain stem dysfunction may undergo many invasive treatments, and parents are often faced with making the decision to withdraw treatment. However, in the face of their child's death, the spiritual practices of parents dealing with end-of-life decision-making remain under investigated.
Purpose: This study explores the spiritual practices in parents making end-of-life decisions for adolescents on life support with brain stem dysfunction.
Method: A descriptive phenomenological study was conducted through in-depth interviews with three parents of two adolescents in Taiwan. Data were analysed using Colaizzi's seven-step protocol.
Results: Three main themes emerged: (1) faith during decision-making, (2) struggles during decision-making, (3) transformation during decision-making. The findings indicate that "transforming the nature of hope" is the essence of the experience.
Conclusion: Family-centred care, gaining insight into parental spiritual practices, and developing culturally-appropriate care are recommended.
Introduction: Although shortcomings in clinician–family communication and decision making for incapacitated, critically ill patients are common, there are few rigorously tested interventions to improve outcomes. In this manuscript, we present our methodology for the Pairing Re-engineered Intensive Care Unit Teams with Nurse-Driven Emotional support and Relationship Building (PARTNER 2) trial, and discuss design challenges and their resolution.
Methods and analysis: This is a pragmatic, stepped-wedge, cluster randomised controlled trial comparing the PARTNER 2 intervention to usual care among 690 incapacitated, critically ill patients and their surrogates in five ICUs in Pennsylvania. Eligible subjects will include critically ill patients at high risk of death and/or severe long-term functional impairment, their main surrogate decision-maker and their clinicians. The PARTNER intervention is delivered by the interprofessional ICU team and overseen by 4–6 nurses from each ICU. It involves: (1) advanced communication skills training for nurses to deliver support to surrogates throughout the ICU stay; (2) deploying a structured family support pathway; (3) enacting strategies to foster collaboration between ICU and palliative care services and (4) providing intensive implementation support to each ICU to incorporate the family support pathway into clinicians’ workflow. The primary outcome is surrogates’ ratings of the quality of communication during the ICU stay as assessed by telephone at 6-month follow-up. Prespecified secondary outcomes include surrogates’ scores on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, the Impact of Event Scale, the modified Patient Perception of Patient Centredness scale, the Decision Regret Scale, nurses’ scores on the Maslach Burnout Inventory, and length of stay during and costs of the index hospitalisation.
We also discuss key methodological challenges, including determining the optimal level of randomisation, using existing staff to deploy the intervention and maximising long-term follow-up of participants.
Ethics and dissemination: We obtained ethics approval through the University of Pittsburgh, Human Research Protection Office. The findings will be published in peer-reviewed journals.
Background: Understanding the preferences for end-of-life (EOL) care is imperative in providing quality care to patients with life-threatening illness. However, it is difficult for patients, families, and health-care providers to initiate EOL conversations in China. An easy-to-use tool that could help health-care providers initiate EOL discussions is the Heart to Heart Card Game (HHCG), originally designed for Chinese Americans.
Objective: To evaluate the EOL preferences among Chinese patients with cancer using the HHCG.
Methods: We conducted a descriptive study to assess EOL preferences using HHCG among patients at the oncology chemoradiotherapy department of a Chinese tertiary hospital.
Results: We recruited 58 patients in total of which 40 (69%) patients completed HHCG. The most frequently selected card was “I want my family to get along,” followed by “I don’t want to be a burden to my family,” and “I want to maintain my dignity.” Among the 3 cards selected, social needs were rated as the most important (36.7%), followed by spiritual needs (35.8%), physical needs (20.0%), and financial needs (7.5%). The evaluation of the HHCG revealed that more than 70% of the participants highly valued HHCG.
Conclusion: The HHCG can be used as a communication tool to encourage EOL discussions between cancer patients and health-care providers in China. Moreover, Chinese patients with cancer attach significant importance to their family and maintaining dignity at the EOL.
Aim: To identify and assess the quality of decision aids that align the decision, values and information provided for parents making end-of-life or palliative care decisions for children with life-threatening conditions.
Methods: Six databases and the grey literature were searched in December 2018. Two reviewers independently reviewed database citations, and one reviewed grey literature citations. Citation chaining via Scopus was conducted. Quality was assessed using IPDAS Collaboration Criteria.
Results: After reviewing 18 671 database citations and 10 988 grey literature citations, 18 citations describing 11 decision aids remained. Decision aids targeted premature infants, children requiring airway management, children with cancer and children with scoliosis. Three aids underwent testing beyond initial development. Quality scores averaged 27 of 50 points.
Conclusions: There are few high-quality decision aids available for use and a lack evidence of widespread clinical use. Additional research is needed to support systematic development and the use of decision aids with families.
BACKGROUND: In Canada, access to palliative care is a growing concern, particularly in rural communities. These communities have constrained health care services and accessing local palliative care can be challenging. The Site Suitability Model (SSM) was developed to identify rural "candidate" communities with need for palliative care services and existing health service capacity that could be enhanced to support a secondary palliative care hub. The purpose of this study was to test the feasibility of implementing the SSM in Ontario by generating a ranked summary of rural "candidate" communities as potential secondary palliative care hubs.
METHODS: Using Census data combined with community-level data, the SSM was applied to assess the suitability of 12 communities as rural secondary palliative care hubs. Scores from 0 to 1 were generated for four equally-weighted components: (1) population as the total population living within a 1-h drive of a candidate community; (2) isolation as travel time from that community to the nearest community with palliative care services; (3) vulnerability as community need based on a palliative care index score; and (4) community readiness as five dimensions of fit between a candidate community and a secondary palliative care hub. Component scores were summed for the SSM score and adjusted to range from 0 to 1.
RESULTS: Population scores for the 12 communities ranged widely (0.19-1.00), as did isolation scores (0.16-0.94). Vulnerability scores ranged more narrowly (0.27-0.35), while community readiness scores ranged from 0.4-1.0. These component scores revealed information about each community's particular strengths and weaknesses. Final SSM scores ranged from a low of 0.33 to a high of 0.76.
CONCLUSIONS: The SSM was readily implemented in Ontario. Final scores generated a ranked list based on the relative suitability of candidate communities to become secondary palliative care hubs. This list provides information for policy makers to make allocation decisions regarding rural palliative services. The calculation of each community's scores also generates information for local policy makers about how best to provide these services within their communities. The multi-factorial structure of the model enables decision makers to adapt the relative weights of its components.
Background: Palliative systematic treatment offers uncertain and often limited benefits, and the burden can be high. Hence, treatment decisions require shared decision making (SDM). This trial examined the independent and combined effect of an oncologist training and a patient communication aid on SDM.
Methods: In this multicenter randomized controlled trial with four parallel arms (2016–2018), oncologists (n = 31) were randomized to receive SDM communication skills training or not. The training consisted of a reader, two group sessions, a booster session, and a consultation room tool (10 hours). Patients (n = 194) with advanced cancer were randomized to receive a patient communication aid or not. The aid consisted of education on SDM, a question prompt list, and a value clarification exercise. The primary outcome was observed SDM as rated by blinded observers from audio-recorded consultations. Secondary outcomes included patient-reported SDM, patient and oncologist satisfaction, patients’ decisional conflict, patient quality of life 3 months after consultation, consultation duration, and the decision made.
Results: The oncologist training had a large positive effect on observed SDM (Cohen's d = 1.12) and on patient-reported SDM (d = 0.73). The patient communication aid did not improve SDM. The combination of interventions did not add to the effect of training oncologists only. The interventions affected neither patient nor oncologist satisfaction with the consultation nor patients’ decisional conflict, quality of life, consultation duration, or the decision made.
Conclusion: Training medical oncologists in SDM about palliative systemic treatment improves both observed and patient-reported SDM. A patient communication aid does not. The incorporation of skills training in (continuing) educational programs for medical oncologists is likely to stimulate the widely advocated uptake of shared decision making in clinical practice. Trial registration. Netherlands Trial Registry NTR 5489.
Implications for Practice: Treatment for advanced cancer offers uncertain and often small benefits, and the burden can be high. Hence, treatment decisions require shared decision making (SDM). SDM is increasingly advocated for ethical reasons and for its beneficial effect on patient outcomes. Few initiatives to stimulate SDM are evaluated in robust designs. This randomized controlled trial shows that training medical oncologists improves both observed and patient-reported SDM in clinical encounters (n = 194). A preconsultation communication aid for patients did not add to the effect of training oncologists. SDM training effectively changes oncologists’ practice and should be implemented in (continuing) educational programs.
Background: Glioma patients make frequent decisions regarding treatment and end-of-life care despite cognitive limitations. We evaluated the feasibility of incorporating the Macarthur Competence Assessment Tool for Treatment (MacCAT-T) to assess decision-making ability in glioma patients.
Methods: High-grade glioma patients were consented to an IRB-approved prospective study at one of three treatment decision time points. Patients completed the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) and providers informally assessed patient decision-making ability based on neurologic examination. The MacCAT-T, designed to assess patient decision-making domains, was administered by a research assistant. MoCA, provider assessment, and MacCAT-T results were compared to determine whether the MacCAT-T provided additional information. To assess feasibility, we measured administration time and obtained qualitative patient feedback.
Results: Eleven patients (median age = 68 years, median Karnofsky Performance Status [KPS] = 80–90) were enrolled. MacCAT-T administration averaged 18.5 minutes. Ninety percent of patients reported “increased knowledge of their treatment options” after taking the MacCAT-T. Clinicians deemed 10 patients to possess sufficient decision-making ability, yet, 6 of them demonstrated impairments in reasoning on the MacCAT-T. Seven patients yielded discordant MOCA and MacCAT-T data, five patients with MOCA score =26 showed qualitative MacCAT-T impairments in Reasoning and five patients who scored <21 were within nonimpaired ranges for three of four decision-making domains.
Conclusion: MacCAT-T administration was feasible and informative to patients but findings were discordant from MOCA and informal provider assessments. The MacCAT-T may help in identifying mild Reasoning impairments related to patients' initial treatment decisions and should be studied further to determine its role in clinical practice.
Effective communication between clinicians and seriously ill patients and their families about a patient's goals of care is essential to patient-centered, goal-concordant, end-of-life care. Effective goals-of-care communication between clinicians and patients is associated with improved patient and family outcomes, increased clinician satisfaction, and decreased health care costs. Unfortunately, clinicians often face barriers in goals-of-care communication and collaboration, including a lack of education, time constraints, and no standardized protocols. Without clear goals-of-care communication, patients may not be able to provide guidance to clinicians about their end-of-life preferences. The purpose of this integrative review was to examine the efficacy of goals-of-care communication interventions between patients, families, and clinicians in randomized controlled trials published between 2009 and 2018. Twenty-three studies met the inclusion criteria with an overall sample (N = 6376) of patients, family members, and clinicians. Results revealed of the 6 different intervention modes, patient decision aids and patient-clinician communication consistently increased comprehension and communication. Twelve of the studies had nurses facilitate or support the communication intervention. Because nurses are a critical, trusted nexus for communication about end-of-life care, focusing on nurse interventions may significantly improve clinical outcomes and the patient experience.
OPINION STATEMENT: Patients with advanced cancer and their families commonly seek information about prognosis to aid decision-making in medical (e.g. surrounding treatment), psychological (e.g. saying goodbye), and social (e.g. getting affairs in order) domains. Oncologists therefore have a responsibility to identify and address these requests by formulating and sensitively communicating information about prognosis. Current evidence suggests that clinician predictions are correlated with actual survival but tend to be overestimations. In an attempt to cultivate prognostic skills, it is recommended that clinicians practice formulating and recording subjective estimates of prognosis in advanced cancer patient's medical notes. When possible, a multi-professional prognostic estimate should be sought as these may be more accurate than individual predictions alone. Clinicians may consider auditing the accuracy of their predictions periodically and using feedback from this process to improve their prognostic skills.Clinicians may also consider using validated prognostic tools to complement their clinical judgements. However, there is currently only limited evidence about the comparative accuracy of different prognostic tools or the extent to which these measures are superior to clinical judgement. Oncologists and palliative care physicians should ensure that they receive adequate training in advanced communication skills, which builds upon their pre-existing skills, to sensitively deliver information on prognosis. In particular, clinicians should acknowledge their own prognostic uncertainty and should emphasise the supportive care that can continue to be provided after stopping cancer-directed therapies.
Purpose: This study evaluated the decision-making capacity of persons with mild and moderate dementia on end-of-life care when using visual aids. A secondary purpose was to learn whether the judges naive to the experimental conditions would rate participants' decisional abilities as better when augmented by visual aids, thereby validating the behavioral changes due to the use of these external support.
Method: Twenty older adults with mild and moderate dementia demonstrated Understanding, Expressing a Choice, Reasoning, and Appreciation of 2 medical vignettes under 2 counterbalanced conditions: verbal alone or verbal with visual aids. Transcripts were analyzed and scored to measure decisional skills. Twelve judges rated participants' decisional abilities using a 7-point Likert scale.
Results: Participants demonstrated significantly better overall decisional capacity in Understanding, Reasoning, and Appreciation when supported by visual aids during the decision-making process. No significant differences between conditions were found in Expressing a Choice, the decisional skill Logical Sequence under Reasoning, and Acknowledgment under Appreciation. Overall, the judges' ratings validated these outcomes; the judges' ratings reflected greater agreement in the visual condition than in the verbal condition.
Conclusions: Findings indicated that visual aids (a) improved the decision-making capacity of individuals with dementia in comprehending medical information, employing supportive reasons, and relating this information to his or her own situation and (b) contain the potential for judges who majored or are majoring in speech-language pathology to reach a stronger consensus when determining the decision-making capacity of individuals with dementia.