BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Clinicians are urged to optimize communication with families, generally without empirical practical recommendations. The objective of this study was to identify core behaviors associated with good communication during and after an unsuccessful resuscitation, including parental perspectives.
METHODS: Clinicians from different backgrounds participated in a standardized, videotaped, simulated neonatal resuscitation in the presence of parent actors. The infant remained pulseless; participants communicated with the parent actors before, during, and after discontinuing resuscitation. Twenty-one evaluators with varying expertise (including 6 bereaved parents) viewed the videos. They were asked to score clinician-parent communication and identify the top communicators. In open-ended questions, they were asked to describe 3 aspects that were well done and 3 that were not. Answers to open-ended questions were coded for easily reproducible behaviors. All the videos were then independently reviewed to evaluate whether these behaviors were present.
RESULTS: Thirty-one participants' videos were examined by 21 evaluators (651 evaluations). Parents and actors agreed with clinicians 81% of the time about what constituted optimal communication. Good communicators were more likely to introduce themselves, use the infant's name, acknowledge parental presence, prepare the parents (for the resuscitation, then death), stop resuscitation without asking parents, clearly mention death, provide or enable proximity (clinician-parent, infant-parent, clinician-infant, mother-father), sit down, decrease guilt, permit silence, and have knowledge about procedures after death. Consistently, clinicians who displayed such behaviors had evaluations >9 out of 10 and were all ranked top 10 communicators.
CONCLUSIONS: During a neonatal end-of-life scenario, many simple behaviors, identified by parents and providers, can optimize clinician-parent communication.
INTRODUCTION: The End-of-Life Namaste Care Program for People with Dementia, challenges the misconception that people with dementia are a 'shell'; it provides a holistic approach using the five senses, which can provide positive ways of communicating and emotional responses. It is proposed Namaste Care can improve communication and the relationships families and friends have with the person with dementia. Previously used in care homes, this study is the first to explore the pioneering use of Namaste Care in people's own homes.
OBJECTIVE: To develop initial programme theories detailing if, how and under which circumstances Namaste Care works when implemented at home.
DESIGN: A qualitative realist approach following the RAMESES II guidelines was employed to understand not only whether Namaste Care has positive outcomes, but also how these are generated, for whom they happen and in which circumstances.
SETTING: A hospice in the North East of England, operating in the community, through volunteers.
PARTICIPANTS: Programme theories were developed from three focus groups with volunteers implementing Namaste Care (n=8; n=8; n=11) and eight interviews with family carers (n=8).
RESULTS: Four refined explanatory theories are presented: increasing engagement, respite for family carers, importance of matched volunteers and increasing social interaction. It was identified that while Namaste Care achieved some of the same goals in the home setting as it does in the care home setting, it could also function in a different way that promoted socialisation.
CONCLUSIONS: Namaste Care provides holistic and personalised care to people with both moderate and advanced dementia, improving engagement and reducing social isolation. In the present study carers often chose to use Namaste Care sessions as respite. This was often linked to their frustration of the unavoidable dominance of task-focussed care in daily life. Individualised Namaste Care activities thus led to positive outcomes for both those with dementia and their carers.
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.
PURPOSE: The 3 Wishes Project (3WP) promotes holistic end-of-life care in the intensive care unit (ICU) to honor dying patients, support families, and encourage clinician compassion. Organ donation is a wish that is sometimes made by, or on behalf of, critically ill patients. Our objective was to describe the interface between the 3WP and organ donation as experienced by families, clinicians, and organ donation coordinators.
METHODS: In a multicenter evaluation of the 3WP in 4 Canadian ICUs, we conducted a thematic analysis of transcripts from interviews and focus groups with clinicians, organ donation coordinators, and families of dying or died patients for whom donation was considered.
RESULTS: We analyzed transcripts from 26 interviews and 2 focus groups with 18 family members, 17 clinicians, and 6 organ donation coordinators. The central theme describes the mutual goals of the 3WP and organ donation-emphasizing personhood and agency across the temporal continuum of care. During family decision-making, conversations encouraged by the 3WP can facilitate preliminary discussions about donation. During preparation for donation, memory-making activities supported by the 3WP redirect focus toward personhood. During postmortem family care, the 3WP supports families, including when donation is unsuccessful, and highlights aspirational pursuits of donation while encouraging reflections on other fulfilled wishes.
CONCLUSIONS: Organ donation and the 3WP provide complementary opportunities to engage in value-based conversations during the dying process. The shared values of these programs may help to incorporate organ donation and death into a person's life narrative and incorporate new life into a person's death narrative.
BACKGROUND: People of Black and minority ethnic heritage are more likely to die receiving life supporting measures and less likely to die at home. End-of-life care decision making often involves adult children as advance care planning is uncommon in these communities. Physicians report family distress as being a major factor in continuing with futile care.
AIM: To develop a deeper understanding of the perspectives of elders of Black and minority ethnic heritage and their children, about end-of-life conversations that take place within the family, using a meta-ethnographic approach.
DESIGN: Systematic interpretive exploration using the process of meta-ethnography was utilised.
DATA SOURCES: CINAHL, MEDLINE, PubMed and PsycINFO databases were searched. Inclusion criteria included studies published between 2005 and 2019 and studies of conversations between ethnic minority elders and family about end-of-life care. Citation snowballing was used to ensure all appropriate references were identified. A total of 13 studies met the inclusion criteria and required quality level using Critical Appraisal Skills Programme.
RESULTS: The following four storylines were constructed: 'My family will carry out everything for me; it is trust'; 'No Mum, don't talk like that'; 'I leave it in God's hands'; and 'Who's going to look after us?' The synthesis reflected the dichotomous balance of trust and burden avoidance that characterises the perspectives of Black and minority ethnic elders to end-of-life care planning with their children.
To avoid discomfort, health care professionals may hesitate to pursue conversations about end of life with patients. Certain tools have the potential to facilitate smoother conversations in this matter. The objective was to explore the experiences of patients in palliative care in using statement cards to talk about their wishes and priorities. Forty-six cards with statements of wishes and priorities were developed and tested for feasibility with 40 participants, who chose the 10 most important cards and shared their thoughts about the statements and conversation. Data from individual interviews and field notes were analyzed using content analysis. One category describes practical aspects of using the cards including the relevance of the content and the process of sorting the cards. The second category describes the significance of using the cards including becoming aware of what is important, sharing wishes and priorities, and reflecting on whether wishes and priorities change closer to death. The cards helped raise awareness and verbalize wishes and priorities. All statements were considered relevant. The conversations focused not only on death and dying, but also on challenges in the participants' current life situation. For the most ill and frail participants, the number of cards needs to be reduced.
Existing sociological research documents patient and physician reticence to discuss death in the context of a patient's end of life. This study offers a new approach to analyzing how death gets discussed in medical interaction. Using a corpus of 90 video-recorded oncology visits and conversation analytic (CA) methods, this analysis reveals that when existing parameters are expanded to look at mentions of death outside of the end-of-life context, physicians do discuss death with their patients. Specifically, the most frequent way physicians invoke death is in a persuasive context during treatment recommendation discussions. When patients demonstrate active or passive resistance to a recommendation, physicians invoke the possibility of the patient's death to push back against this resistance and lobby for treatment. Occasionally, physicians invoke death in instances where resistance is anticipated but never actualized. Similarly, death invocations function for treatment advocacy. Ultimately, this study concludes that physicians in these data invoke death to leverage their professional authority for particular treatment outcomes.
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.
BACKGROUND: Advance care planning (ACP) is an ongoing process of communication involving patients, family members, and caregivers on one side and healthcare providers on the other to establish values, goals, and preferences for future care, along with discussions concerning end-of-life care options. Advance directives promote patient autonomy and provide written documentation of a patient's wishes for future care.
OBJECTIVES: This quality improvement project aimed to determine if ACP discussions initiated by an advanced practice provider (APP) would enhance patient-centered end-of-life care.
METHODS: This study involved retrospective data collection of 20 inpatients and 20 outpatients without a scanned advance directive in the electronic health record at the time of admission or clinic visit, as well as an ACP intervention by an APP.
FINDINGS: APPs can initiate ACP discussions with patients with cancer, which may assist in their understanding of ACP, resulting in completion of the advance directive documents and a change in their code (resuscitation) status.
BACKGROUND: With increasing support for the integration of palliative care and standard oncology, communication training programs are needed to teach oncology nurses and other providers about palliative care communication.
OBJECTIVES: This study reports on the outcomes of COMFORTTM SM Communication for Oncology Nurses, a train-the-trainer communication course to educate oncology nurses about palliative care communication and improve patient-centered communication and cancer care.
METHODS: 355 oncology nurses attended the two-day course. This study used 6- and 12-month follow-up data from nurses who provided feedback on the progress of these goals.
FINDINGS: Nurses taught an additional 9,720 oncology providers, conducted needs assessments of communication processes, and initiated institutionwide palliative care communication training. Barriers to completing outcome goals included a lack of institutional support, specifically an absence of leadership, financial backing, and dedicated time.
Purpose: Patients with advanced cancer often receive suboptimal end-of-life (EOL) care. Particularly males with advanced cancer are more likely to receive EOL care that is more aggressive, even if death is imminent. Critical factors determining EOL care are EOL conversations or advance care planning. However, information about gender-related factors influencing EOL conversations is lacking. Therefore, the current study investigates gender differences concerning the content, the desired time point, and the mode of initiation of EOL conversations in cancer patients.
Methods: In a cross-sectional study, 186 female and male cancer patients were asked about their preferences for EOL discussions using a semi-structured interview, focusing on (a) the importance of six different topics (medical and nursing care, organizational, emotional, social, and spiritual/religious aspects), (b) the desired time point, and (c) the mode of discussion initiation.
Results: The importance of EOL topics differs significantly regarding issue (p = 0.002, 2 = 0.02) and gender (p < 0.001, 2 = 0.11). Males wish to avoid the engagement in discussions about death and dying particularly if they are anxious about their end-of-life period. They wish to be addressed regarding the “hard facts” nursing and medical care only. In contrast, females prefer to speak more about “soft facts” and to be addressed about each EOL topic. Independent of gender, the majority of patients prefer to talk rather late: when the disease is getting worse (58%), at the end of their therapy, or when loosing self-sufficiency (27.5%).
Conclusion: The tendency of patients to talk late about EOL issues increases the risk of delayed or missed EOL conversations, which may be due to a knowledge gap regarding the possibility of disease-associated incapability. Furthermore, there are significant gender differences influencing the access to EOL conversations. Therefore, for daily clinical routine, we suggest an early two-step, gender-sensitive approach to end-of-life conversations.
This study aimed to evaluate nurses’ experiences and factors related to their attitudes regarding discussions of do-not-resuscitate (DNR) and withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment (LST) with patients and their families. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in a tertiary hospital in Taiwan. Nurses aged = 20 years who were in charge of acute inpatient care were randomly recruited. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to evaluate participants’ experiences and attitudes regarding discussions of DNR and LST withdrawal for terminal patients. Logistic regression with adjustment for covariates was used to analyze factors related to participants’ attitudes toward discussions about DNR and LST withdrawal with patients and families in the future care of terminal patients. The participants were 132 nurses. They had significantly more discussions about DNR and LST withdrawal with patients’ families than with patients. Regression analysis showed that participants who had past experiences in actively initiating DNR discussions with patients or patients’ families were significantly more likely to discuss DNR with patients in the future care of terminal patients, but participants aged 40.0 to 60.0 years were significantly less likely to have DNR discussions than those aged 20.0 to 29.9 years. Experiences of actively initiated DNR or LST discussions with patients’ families were significantly more likely to discuss DNR with patients’ families, but those aged 40.0 to 60.0 years were also significantly less likely to have DNR discussions than those aged 20.0 to 29.9 years. Experience in actively initiating discussions about LST withdrawal with patients’ families, being male, and possessing an education level higher than university were significantly related to LST withdrawal discussions with terminal patients or their families in the future. In conclusion, there need to be more discussions about DNR and LST withdrawal with patients. To protect patients’ autonomy and their rights to make decisions about their DNR and LST, measures are needed to facilitate DNR and LST discussions with patients to ensure better end-of-life care
BACKGROUND: Early, high-quality serious illness (SI) conversations are critical for patients with glioblastoma (GBM) but are often mistimed or mishandled.
OBJECTIVE: To describe the prevalence, timing, and quality of documented SI conversations and evaluate their focus on patient goals/priorities.
DESIGN/PARTICIPANTS: Thirty-three patients with GBM enrolled in the control group of a randomized controlled trial of a communication intervention and were followed for 2 years or until death. At baseline, all patients answered a validated question about preferences for life-extending versus comfort-focused care and completed a Life Priorities Survey about their goals/priorities. In this secondary analysis, retrospective chart review was performed for 18 patients with GBM who died. Documented SI conversations were systematically identified and evaluated using a codebook reflecting 4 domains: prognosis, goals/priorities, end-of-life planning, and life-sustaining treatments. Patient goals/priorities were compared to documentation.
MEASUREMENTS/RESULTS: At baseline, 16 of 24 patients preferred life-extending care. In the Life Priorities Survey, goals/priorities most frequently ranked among the top 3 were "Live as long as possible," "Be mentally aware," "Provide support for family," "Be independent," and "Be at peace." Fifteen of 18 patients had at least 1 documented SI conversation (range: 1-4). Median timing of the first documented SI conversation was 84 days before death (range: 29-231; interquartile range: 46-119). Fifteen patients had documentation about end-of-life planning, with "hospice" and "palliative care" most frequently documented. Five of 18 patients had documentation about their goals.
CONCLUSION: Patients with GBM had multiple goals/priorities with potential treatment implications, but documentation showed SI conversations occurred relatively late and infrequently reflected patient goals/priorities.
Children's experiences of information and family communication when a parent has a life-threatening illness have been sparsely studied, though such information is important for the child's wellbeing. The aim of this study was to explore children's reports of illness-related information and family communication when living with a parent with a life-threatening illness. Forty-eight children, aged 7 to 19 years, were recruited from four specialized palliative home care units in Stockholm, Sweden. All but one child reported that someone had told them about the parent's life-threatening illness; however, two thirds wanted more information. A quarter of the teenagers reported that they had questions about the illness that they did not dare to ask. Half of the children, aged 8 to 12, reported that they felt partially or completely unable to talk about how they felt or show their feelings to someone in the family. Interventions are needed that promote greater family communication and family-professional communication.
Background: Lack of awareness about the life-limiting nature of renal failure is a significant barrier to palliative care for older adults with end-stage renal disease.
Objective: To train nephrologists to use the best case/worst case (BC/WC) communication tool to improve shared decision making about dialysis initiation for older patients with limited life expectancy.
Design: This is a pre-/postinterventional pilot study.
Setting/Subjects: There were 16 nephrologists and 30 patients of age 70 years and older with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) <20 mL/min per 1.73 m2 in outpatient nephrology clinics, in Madison, WI.
Measurements: Performance of tool elements, content of communication about dialysis, shared decision making, acceptability of the intervention, decisions to pursue dialysis, and palliative care referrals were measured.
Results: Fifteen of 16 nephrologists achieved competence performing the BC/WC tool with standardized patients, executing at least 14 of 19 items. Nine nephrologists met with 30 patients who consented to audio record their clinic visit. Before training, clinic visits focused on laboratory results and preparation for dialysis. After training, nephrologists noted that declining kidney function was “bad news,” presented dialysis and “no dialysis” as treatment options, and elicited patient preferences. Observer-measured shared decision-making (OPTION 5) scores improved from a median of 20/100 (interquartile range [IQR] 15–35) before training to 58/100 (IQR 55–65). Patients whose nephrologist used the BC/WC tool were less likely to make a decision to initiate dialysis and were more likely to be referred to palliative care.
Conclusions: Nephrologists can learn to use the BC/WC tool with older patients to improve shared decision making about dialysis, which may increase access to palliative care.
Objectives: To identify patient perceptions of how and when palliative care (PC) could complement usual heart failure (HF) management.
Background: Despite guidelines calling for the integration of PC into the management of HF, PC services remain underutilized by this population. Patient preferences regarding delivery of and triggers for PC are unknown.
Setting/subjects: Individuals with New York Heart Association Class II-IV disease were recruited from inpatient and outpatient settings at an academic quaternary care hospital.
Measurements: Participants completed semistructured interviews discussing perceptions, knowledge, and preferences regarding PC. They also addressed barriers and facilitators to PC delivery. Two investigators independently analyzed data using template analysis.
Results: We interviewed 27 adults with HF (mean age 63, 85% white, 63% male, 30% Class II, 48% Class III, and 22% Class IV). Participants frequently conflated PC with hospice; once corrected, they expressed variable preferences for primary versus specialist services. Proponents of primary PC cited continuity in care, HF-specific expertise, convenience, and cost, whereas advocates for specialist care highlighted expertise in symptom management and caregiver support, reduced time constraints, and a comprehensive approach to care. Triggers for specialist PC focused on late-stage manifestations of disease such as loss of independence and absence of disease-directed therapies.
Conclusions: Patients with HF demonstrated variable conceptions of PC and its relevance to their disease management. Although preferences for delivery model were based on a variety of logistical and relational factors, triggers for initiation remained focused on late-stage disease, suggesting that patients with HF may misconceive PC is an option of last resort.
Cancer impacts spouse caregivers, especially when couples engage in dyadic coping around the cancer. Communication is a key factor in this process. Our goals were to describe cancer-related communication between advanced cancer patients and their spouse caregivers, and to describe how dyadic communication patterns are related to caregivers' reported burden and preparedness for caregiving. Caregivers completed measures of caregiver burden and preparedness for caregiving. Then, the patient and caregiver were asked to interact with each other in two structured discussions: a neutral discussion and a problem discussion focused on cancer. Discussions were coded using the Rapid Marital Interaction Coding System (RMICS2). Caregivers reported moderate levels of preparation and burden. Greater caregiver hostility communication predicted higher levels of caregiver burden, whereas greater caregiver dysphoric affect communication predicted lower levels of caregiver burden. Whereas positivity was more common than hostility in couples' communication, patient hostility was a significant predictor of caregiver preparedness. Patient neutral constructive problem discussion was also associated with increased caregiver preparedness. Caregiver outcomes are an understudied component to dyadic cancer research. Our paper describes observational data on cancer-related communication between caregivers and advanced cancer patients and communication's influence on caregiver outcomes. This work provides the foundation for future evidence-based communication interventions that may influence both patient and caregiver outcomes.
PURPOSE: The quality of the relationship between oncologists and cancer patients has been associated with caregiver bereavement outcomes, but no studies have examined whether the perceived quality of the relationship between cancer caregivers and oncologists is associated with caregiver experiences of end-of-life care or psychological adjustment after the patient's death.
METHODS: We conducted secondary analyses of data collected in the Values and Options in Cancer Care (VOICE) study, a randomized controlled trial of an intervention that improved communication between oncologists and patients/caregivers (n = 204 dyads). At study entry, we assessed caregivers' experiences with the oncologist using four items from the Human Connection Scale. Following patients' deaths, we assessed bereaved caregivers' experiences with end-of-life cancer care (Quality of Death; Peace, Equanimity, and Acceptance in the Cancer Experience [PEACE]; Caregiver Evaluation of the Quality of End-of-Life Care [CEQUEL]; and modified Decision Regret scales) and psychological adjustment (Prolonged Grief Disorder-13 and Purpose in Life scales). We conducted multivariable regressions examining prospective associations between caregiver experiences with the oncologist at study entry and outcome variables.
RESULTS: Data were collected from 105 caregivers of patients who died during the course of the study. Positive experience with the oncologist was prospectively associated with better experiences of end-of-life care, as reflected in better quality of death (estimate = 0.33, SE = 0.14, p = 0.02), PEACE (estimate = 0.11, SE = 0.05, p = 0.04), and decisional regret (estimate = - 0.16, SE = 0.06, p = 0.01). Caregivers' experience with the oncologist was not significantly associated with indicators of psychological adjustment.
CONCLUSION: Caregivers' early experiences with oncologists may affect their experiences of the patient's end-of-life care.
BACKGROUND: High-quality communication about end-of-life care results in greater patient and family satisfaction. End-of-life discussions should occur early during the patient's disease trajectory and yet is often addressed only when patients become severely ill. As a result, end-of-life discussions are commonly initiated during unplanned hospital admissions, which create additional challenges for physicians, patients, and families.
OBJECTIVE: To better understand how internal medicine attending physicians and trainees experience end-of-life discussions with patients and families during acute hospitalizations.
DESIGN: We conducted an interview-based qualitative study using an interpretivist approach. We selected participants based on purposeful maximal variation and theoretical sampling strategies. We conducted an individual, in-depth, semi-structured interview with each participant.
PARTICIPANTS: We recruited 15 internal medicine physicians with variable levels of clinical training and experience who worked in one of five university-affiliated academic hospitals.
APPROACH: Interview transcripts were analyzed inductively and reflectively. Data were grouped by themes and categories. Data collection and analysis occurred concurrently, led to iterative adjustments of the interview guide, and continued until theoretical sufficiency was reached.
KEY RESULTS: Physicians depicted end-of-life discussions as a process directed at painting a realistic picture of a clinical situation. By focusing their efforts on reaching a shared understanding of a clinical situation with patients/families, physicians self-delineated the boundaries of their professional responsibilities regarding end-of-life care (i.e., help with understanding, not with accepting or making the "right" decisions). Information sharing took precedence over emotional support in most physicians' accounts of end-of-life discussions. However, the emotional impact of end-of-life discussions on families and physicians was readily recognized by participants.
CONCLUSION: End-of-life discussions are complex, dynamic social interactions that involve multiple, complementary competencies. Focusing mostly on sharing clinical information during end-of-life discussions may distract physicians from providing emotional support to families and prevent improvements of end-of-life care delivered in acute care settings.
BACKGROUND: Advance care planning (ACP) defines end-of-life care in accordance with the patients' preferences. It is highly important during mental and/or physical deterioration, which prevents patients from expressing their wishes. Despite various attempts worldwide to promote the issue, it is not well established, suggesting various challenges in the implementation of the process in the medical system. The current study aimed to evaluate the perception of Israeli oncology staff members regarding the process.
METHODS: Physicians and nurses from a division of oncology participated in the study. They completed the study's questionnaires, which included quantitative items regarding staff and patients' motives and barriers, as well as qualitative questions to better evaluate their understanding regarding the process.
RESULTS: According to staff members, the optimal time to complete the forms is during the final stages of the disease. Making the right medical decisions and avoiding unnecessary medical procedures were rated as the main motives for patients in the process. The communication factor was perceived as the main barrier for patients, as well as the main motive and barrier for staff. The central role of communication was demonstrated in the qualitative section as well. Various differences were demonstrated between staff members who talked with patients about ACP and those who did not.
CONCLUSION: The study demonstrated the central role of communication in the process of ACP from the staff's perception. This highlights the need to further promote training programs for staff members to establish better interactions and communication skills when dealing with end-of-life issues.