Objectives: To examine current practices, attitudes and levels of confidence related to advance care planning (ACP) in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) among healthcare professionals working in Ireland. This will inform future clinical guidance development.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey of healthcare professionals.
Results: There were 143 participants (109 general practitioners, 25 nurses, 7 physiotherapists and 2 consultant physicians). The majority (82%, n=117) cared for patients with COPD weekly, but only 23% (n=33) had initiated ACP with a patient with COPD over the previous 6 months. Overall, 59% (n=85) answered =6 of 8 general knowledge questions correctly. Participants demonstrated positive attitudes towards ACP (mean score 3.6/5.0), but confidence levels were low (2.2/4.0). Most thought ACP was appropriate for patients with severe or very severe COPD (71%, n=101%, and 91%, n=130, respectively) but were unsure or felt that it was not appropriate for those with mild–moderate COPD. However, almost all participants (97%, n=139) stated that if a patient expressed a desire to have ACP discussions, they would comply. Topics most likely to be discussed related to diagnosis and treatment options. Death and end-of-life issues were rarely discussed. The death of a family member or friend and participation in support groups were identified as new ‘triggers’ for initiating ACP.
Conclusions: Targeted education to improve general knowledge and confidence levels among healthcare professionals, together with initiatives to increase public awareness of ACP so that patients themselves might be more inclined to start the discussion, may help increase the uptake of ACP for this patient group.
OBJECTIVES: Assessing whether interventions are implemented as intended (fidelity) is critical to establishing efficacy in clinical research yet rarely applied in advance care planning (ACP) interventions. We aimed to develop and implement a fidelity audit tool for an ACP intervention.
METHODS: We developed a fidelity audit tool assessing: (A) content; (B) quality (general communication, eliciting EOL preferences and prognostic communication); and (C) family/caregiver involvement. We audited (double-coded) 55 audio-recordings of ACP discussions delivered to advanced cancer patients and caregivers, within a clinical trial.
RESULTS: Fidelity to content was high: mean=9.38/11 but lower for the quality of general communication (mean=12.47/20), discussion of patient preferences (mean=4.67/7), prognosis (mean=3.9/6) and family/caregiver involvement (mean=2.67/4). Older patient age and caregiver religiosity were associated with higher fidelity. Higher fidelity to content was associated with the trial primary outcome of family caregiver report of patient wishes being discussed and met.
CONCLUSIONS: Fidelity to content, but not quality, of the ACP intervention is strong. Communication skills training is critical for ACP interventionists. Adherence was higher with older patients and religious carers, factors that may influence acceptance of death and readiness to undertake ACP, making the discussion easier.
OBJECTIVES: Conduct a prospective comparative effectiveness cohort study comparing two models of advance care planning (ACP) provision in community aged care: ACP conducted by the client's case manager (CM) ('Facilitator') and ACP conducted by an external ACP service ('Referral') over a 6-month period.
METHODS: This Australian study involved CMs and their clients. Eligible CM were English speaking, =18 years, had expected availability for the trial and worked =3 days per week. CMs were recruited via their organisations, sequentially allocated to a group and received education based on the group allocation. They were expected to initiate ACP with all clients and to facilitate ACP or refer for ACP. Outcomes were quantity of new ACP conversations and quantity and quality of new advance care directives (ACDs).
RESULTS: 30 CMs (16 Facilitator, 14 Referral) completed the study; all 784 client’s files (427 Facilitator, 357 Referral) were audited. ACP was initiated with 508 (65%) clients (293 Facilitator, 215 Referral; p<0.05); 89 (18%) of these (53 Facilitator, 36 Referral) and 41 (46%) (13 Facilitator, 28 Referral; p<0.005) completed ACDs. Most ACDs (71%) were of poor quality/not valid. A further 167 clients (facilitator 124; referral 43; p<0.005) reported ACP was in progress at study completion.
CONCLUSIONS: While there were some differences, overall, models achieved similar outcomes. ACP was initiated with 65% of clients. However, fewer clients completed ACP, there was low numbers of ACDs and document quality was generally poor. The findings raise questions for future implementation and research into community ACP provision.