BACKGROUND: Advance care planning (ACP) is not well implemented in hospital. Implementation theory stresses the importance of knowing what hospitalised palliative patients and their families experience as barriers or as facilitators in the uptake of ACP with their treating physician.
AIMS: This study aimed to gain an in-depth understanding of what hospitalised palliative patients and their families experienced as barriers or facilitators for having ACP conversations.
METHODS: We used a tape-assisted recall procedure to conduct 29 videotaped interviews with hospitalised patients and their families. We used content analysis based on grounded theory principles.
RESULTS: Four major fields of tension were discovered: not knowing what to expect from the treating physician; not being sure the treating physician can be a trusted partner; daring to speak about ACP; and staying loyal to one's own wishes.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients and families need physicians who are accessible and can be trusted ACP partners throughout the disease process.
In Belgium, Advance Care Planning (ACP) is not well implemented in hospital practice. One of the premises for successful implementation is involving the adopters in the implementation process. In hospital, important adopters of ACP are physicians, nurses, social workers, and psychologists. First, this study wants to understand what the characteristics are of ACP in hospital, according to professionals. Second, this study aims to give an insight in the experienced value of ACP. Third, the experienced barriers to have ACP conversations are explored. Twenty-four interviews were taken and analyzed with Content Analysis based on Grounded Theory. Three independent external auditors surveilled the analysis. ACP in hospital exists by the grace of the initiative of the actors involved in the case. Professionals perceive fields of tension between one another; barriers to ACP communication. ACP is mainly considered valuable because it is a process that creates time for exploration and reflection.