In this discussion paper we consider the influence of ethnicity, religiosity, spirituality and health literacy on Advance Care Planning for older people. Older people from cultural and ethnic minorities have low access to palliative or end-of-life care and there is poor uptake of advance care planning by this group across a number of countries where advance care planning is promoted. For many, religiosity, spirituality and health literacy are significant factors that influence how they make end-of-life decisions. Health literacy issues have been identified as one of the main reasons for a communication gaps between physicians and their patients in discussing end-of-life care, where poor health literacy, particularly specific difficulty with written and oral communication often limits their understanding of clinical terms such as diagnoses and prognoses. This then contributes to health inequalities given it impacts on their ability to use their moral agency to make appropriate decisions about end-of-life care and complete their Advance Care Plans. Currently, strategies to promote advance care planning seem to overlook engagement with religious communities. Consequently, policy makers, nurses, medical professions, social workers and even educators continue to shape advance care planning programmes within the context of a medical model. The ethical principle of justice is a useful approach to responding to inequities and to promote older peoples' ability to enact moral agency in making such decisions.
The process of advance care planning in dementia is far from straightforward; as dementia progresses, the ability to consider future thoughts and actions becomes compromised, thus affecting decision-making abilities. Family carers find themselves increasingly in a position where they need to inform, or directly make, decisions on behalf of the person with dementia. This article discusses the context and importance of a palliative care approach and recommends rationales and strategies for healthcare professionals to support families affected by dementia to better plan for their future care.
OBJECTIVES: Historically, dementia has not been recognised as a life-limiting condition or one that may benefit from a palliative approach to its care. There are many challenges in providing palliative and end-of-life care to this group of people, some of which may be reduced through advance care planning (ACP) to support people with dementia to have a greater influence on their care at end of life. ACP has been defined as a process of discussing and recording of wishes, values and preferences for future care and treatment held between an individual, family members and their care provider(s) that takes effect when the person loses capacity. The objective of this project was to involve people with dementia and their family carers in co-design of ACP guide and template to prepare for further study related to communication processes in ACP.
METHODS: A user-centred design process cycle of development and review was undertaken by Dementia UK which involved people with dementia, family carers, Admiral Nurses and other key stakeholders in developing an ACP guide and template.
RESULTS: Nine cyclical stages were undertaken to achieve the outcome of an ACP guide and template.
CONCLUSION: Co-production using a user-centred design approach offers a structured and inclusive approach to developing ACP materials.Authors.
BACKGROUND: Increasing importance is being placed on the coordination of services at the end of life.
AIM: To describe decision-making processes that influence transitions in care when approaching the end of life.
DESIGN: Qualitative study using field observations and longitudinal semi-structured interviews.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Field observations were undertaken in three sites: a residential care home, a medical assessment unit and a general medical unit in New Zealand. The Supportive and Palliative Care Indicators Tool was used to identify participants with advanced and progressive illness. Patients and family members were interviewed on recruitment and 3-4 months later. Four weeks of fieldwork were conducted in each site. A total of 40 interviews were conducted: 29 initial interviews and 11 follow-up interviews. Thematic analysis was undertaken.
FINDINGS: Managing risk was an important factor that influenced transitions in care. Patients and health care staff held different perspectives on how such risks were managed. At home, patients tolerated increasing risk and used specific support measures to manage often escalating health and social problems. In contrast, decisions about discharge in hospital were driven by hospital staff who were risk-adverse. Availability of community and carer services supported risk management while a perceived need for early discharge decision making in hospital and making 'safe' discharge options informed hospital discharge decisions.
CONCLUSION: While managing risk is an important factor during care transitions, patients should be able to make choices on how to live with risk at the end of life. This requires reconsideration of transitional care and current discharge planning processes at the end of life.