Background: Patients with cancer have high symptom burden and unmet needs and therefore can benefit from palliative care. Oncology nurses are consistent providers of care to patients with cancer and can provide palliative care to these patients. However, oncology nurses’ knowledge on palliative care has not been systematically evaluated.
Objective: To synthesize the current state of the science of oncology nurses’ knowledge on palliative care.
Methods: A systematic literature search was completed using PubMed, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature, and PsycINFO databases using the following key words: (oncology nurs*) AND (knowledge OR attitude OR belief OR perception) and (palliative care OR supportive care OR terminal care OR end-of-life care OR hospice). The quality of identified studies was rated on a 7-point scale using Fineout-Overholt’s hierarchy of evidence.
Results : Twenty studies from 10 different countries were identified and synthesized for this review. Seventeen studies were quantitative, whereas 3 were qualitative studies. Results revealed that oncology nurses lacked knowledge on several aspects of palliative care.
Conclusions : Overall oncology nurses did not possess adequate knowledge on palliative care. Factors influencing oncology nurses’ knowledge on palliative care included nurses’ sociodemographic factors, educational status, years of experience, palliative care education/training, and clinical setting.
Implications for practice : This review provides evidence on gaps of oncology nurses’ knowledge on palliative care and helps inform the design of interventions targeted toward enhancing oncology nurses’ knowledge on palliative care.
Background: Generalist nurses frequently care for people who have advanced chronic diseases in decline, or who are dying. Few studies have measured graduating nurses' knowledge about end-of-life (EoL) care.
Aims: To measure and compare knowledge about EoL care using the palliative care quiz for nurses among two cohorts of graduating nurses in a baccalaureate nursing programme.
Methods: A quantitative cross-sectional survey design using a convenience sample of two cohorts of students.
Findings: Total mean scores were low at 44.5% and 46.5% for the cohorts, respectively; this was not statistically significant. Misconceptions related to presentation and symptom management of the dying patient and integration of palliative with acute care. Palliative care knowledge was higher among the cohort who completed the dedicated EoL care course.
Conclusion: Significant misconceptions about EoL care exist among these graduating nurses; this information provides direction for curriculum revision.
BACKGROUND: Nutrition is a basic patients' need and an important component of nursing. End-of-life cancer patients can experience difficulties in eating and drinking, sometimes requiring artificial nutrition and hydration (ANH). Nurses' knowledge and attitudes greatly influence nursing care. Nurses may lack knowledge of ANH. To date, no study has explored the knowledge and attitudes of oncology and palliative care nurses toward end-of-life ANH.
OBJECTIVE: To describe oncology and palliative care nurses' knowledge of and attitudes toward ANH.
METHODS: A multicenter cross-sectional study was conducted in 7 regions of Italy using the Italian version of the Questionnaire on Knowledge and Attitudes in Providing ANH for Terminal Cancer Patients. Attitudes were divided into benefits and burdens of providing ANH. Data were analyzed by descriptive statistics.
RESULTS: High percentages of oncology and palliative care nurses showed reasonable knowledge about ANH. More disagreement was evidenced about benefits and burdens of ANH, and lower importance was given to them.
CONCLUSIONS: Some misconceptions and a low level of awareness exist among some nurses about ANH. More nursing studies should be conducted and extended to different care settings. Moreover, guidelines should be reinforced with a nursing perspective to better define nurses' role in the decision-making process on ANH.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: This exploration of nurses' knowledge of and attitudes toward ANH in end-of-life cancer patients can contribute to an understanding of how nurses can be involved in better meeting cancer patients' nutritional needs at the end of life.
BACKGROUND: The U.S. health care system is poorly designed to meet the needs of patients at the end of life (EOL) and their families. Nursing students often have reported feeling inadequate to provide EOL care.
METHOD: Following an EOL simulation, reflective journals were collected from junior and senior nursing students and analyzed for themes using qualitative content analysis. The condensed meaning units were abstracted into codes based on Carper's fundamental patterns of knowing.
RESULTS: Thirty-one junior and senior nursing students (mean age, 21.04 ± 0.52 years, 96.2% female) in a baccalaureate program participated in the study. The broad themes of student reflections included empirics (theoretical or natural historical) aesthetics (transformative nursing action), personal (interpersonal process of nurse-patient interaction), and ethics (emotion influences actions).
CONCLUSION: Student perception and participation in all roles contributes to the gestalt of the experience of a highly emotional EOL simulation for both students and faculty.
BACKGROUND: Immigrants to North America receive more interventions at end of life potentially due to knowledge gaps. The primary objective of this study was to measure and describe levels of perceived knowledge about palliative care among immigrants to the United States (US) compared to those born in the US. Our secondary objective was to identify trusted sources for seeking information about palliative care among immigrants and compare these trusted sources with those born in the US. We hypothesized that immigrants would have less knowledge of palliative care than those born in US and would trust different sources for information about palliative care.
METHODS: We analyzed data from the nationally representative 2018 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS 5, cycle 2). Questionnaires were administered via mail between January and May 2018 to a population-based sample of adults. The primary outcome of interest was assessed using the item "How would you describe your level of knowledge about palliative care?" The secondary outcome of interest was determined using the item "Imagine you had a strong need to get information about palliative care, which of the following would you most trust as a source of information about palliative care?" Descriptive statistics were calculated, and bivariate analyses run between the outcomes of interest and sociodemographic characteristics (age, sex, education, race/ethnicity, nativity, fluency with English). Multivariable logistic regressions were conducted to assess the role of nativity, controlling for relevant sociodemographic variables. Jackknife weighting was used to generate population-level estimates.
RESULTS: About 70% of those born in the US and 77% of immigrants (weighted) responded that they had "never heard of palliative care." Trusted sources of palliative care were very similar between the groups (all P>0.05). Both groups' preferred trusted source of palliative care knowledge was "health care provider," with over 80% of respondents in each group selecting this option. Printed materials and social media were the least popular trusted sources among both groups. After adjusting for relevant sociodemographic characteristics, we found no association between poor knowledge of palliative care and nativity (P=0.22). Female respondents had 2.5-fold increased odds of reporting low levels of perceived knowledge of palliative care (OR =2.58, 95% CI, 1.76-3.78; P<0.001). Education was an important predictor of perceived knowledge of palliative care; as education level increased, so did perceived knowledge of palliative care (P<0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: Perceived knowledge of palliative care is poor generally, regardless of birthplace. Trusted sources for palliative care are similar between immigrants and those born in the US. Education is important and is a strong predictor of perceived knowledge of palliative care. Women perceive they have lower levels of knowledge of palliative care (PC) than men. Differences in end of life care between immigrants and non-immigrants cannot be explained by knowledge differences.
OBJECTIVE: There is a lack of information about patients' attitudes towards and knowledge of resuscitation and advance care planning (ACP) in the palliative care unit (PCU). The aims of this study were to examine (a) patients' attitudes towards and knowledge of the topic of resuscitation, (b) patients' level of education about their illness and (c) their concept of ACP.
METHODS: This study used a qualitative methodology that involved semi-structured interviews with advanced cancer patients admitted to the PCU. Interviews were conducted during the first week after admission, recorded digitally and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed through content analysis using NVivo 12.
RESULTS: Eighteen interviews revealed the following themes: (a) ambivalence regarding preference for or refusal of resuscitation, (b) patient confidence concerning their level of education, (c) lack of information about ACP and (d) positive perception of the stay in the PCU. The data showed that a high percentage of PCU patients desired resuscitation even though education about their illness was mostly perceived as good. Many patients did not receive information about ACP. Patients perceived the stay in the PCU positively.
CONCLUSION: The study results reveal that there is lack of knowledge about ACP and resuscitation in patients in the PCU.
AIMS: To evaluate how a structured interactive two-day education programme for clinical nurses on end-of-life (EOL) care for older people affects nurses' attitudes and knowledge.
DESIGN: Non-randomised controlled trial.
METHODS: Nurses were recruited separately for intervention and control groups. The intervention group assisted older patients with EOL care and recruited patients for the programme. To prevent sampling bias, control group nurses were recruited from a facility with numerous EOL care opportunities. The intervention was a two-day educational programme. Using valid and reliable scales, we evaluated the attitudes (total score range: 26-130) and knowledge (total score range: 0-51) of the intervention group four times (pretraining, post-training, 3 months, 6 months) and the control group three times (baseline, 3 months, 6 months) between January 2016 and April 2017. Analysis of covariance examined both groups' score changes at 3 and 6 months while adjusting for confounding factors.
RESULTS: Participants were 338 nurses caring primarily for older people (intervention group: 164; control group: 174); 142 responded at all measurement points. The change in mean value of the attitude scale from baseline to 3 months (differences in the groups' attitude scores = 7.33; 95% CI = 2.43-12.24; p = .004) and 6 months (differences in groups' attitude scores = 5.77; 95% CI = 0.17-11.37; p = .044) was greater in the intervention group. Moreover, the mean knowledge scale score change from baseline to 3 months was greater in the intervention group (differences in groups' knowledge scores = 5.74; 95% CI = 4.07 to 7.39; p < .001). There was no evidence of a change in this score between baseline and 6 months.
CONCLUSION: The programme improved nurses' medium- to long-term attitudes and knowledge. Thus, it may help nurses enhance the quality of care they provide.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: A two-day educational program improves nurses' medium- to long-term attitudes and knowledge on end-oflife care. For quality end-of-life care for older people, a structured and evidence-based educational program should be provided to nursing staff.
CONTEXT: Palliative care will play an important role to alleviate disease suffering and improve quality of life for cancer patients and their family caregivers.
OBJECTIVE: We examined the knowledge penetration of palliative care in a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults.
METHODS: We used the 2018 National Cancer Institute's Health Information National Trends Survey to determine the proportion of respondents who had knowledge of palliative care as well as the depth and sources of their knowledge. We used the Pearson chi-square test and a multivariable logistic regression model to assess the association of respondents' basic demographic characteristics as well as health status and having knowledge of palliative care.
RESULTS: We identified 3194 respondents (weighted sample size: 229,591,005) who met the inclusion criteria. About 71% (2097) of all respondents had no knowledge of palliative care and 84.5% of Hispanic respondents had no knowledge of palliative care. Multivariable analyses indicated the middle-aged (50-64 years old, odds ratio, 1.58; 95% CI, 1.15-2.19, P = 0.006) and elder population (65 years or older, odds ratio, 1.70, 95% CI, 1.30-2.22, P < 0.001) have a significantly better knowledge of palliative care than those under age 50. Common misconceptions existed in respondents, even those who had self-reported adequate knowledge of palliative care.
CONCLUSION: The proportion of adults who have knowledge of palliative care is low in the U.S. Greater efforts are needed to promote palliative care and reduce the misconceptions of palliative care in the general population.
Nearly 20 years ago the EURONIC study reported that French neonatologists sometimes deemed it legitimate to terminate the lives of newborn infants when the prognosis appeared extremely poor. Parents were not always informed of these decisions. Major change has occurred since then and is described herein.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: A survey was conducted in the Île-de-France region, from 1 January to 31 January 2016. Professionals from 15 neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) were invited to complete a questionnaire.
RESULTS: A total of 702 questionnaires were collected and 670 responses were analyzed. Knowledge of the law differed according to professional status, with 71% of MDs (medical staff, MS), compared with 28% of nonmedical staff (NMS) declaring that they had good knowledge of the law. Most MDs and NMS believed that withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatments (WWLST) could be decided and implemented after a delay. Half of them thought that WWLST would always result in death. Although required by law, a consulting MD attended the collegial meeting required before deciding on WWLST in only half of the cases. Parents were almost always informed of the decision thereafter by the physician in charge of their infant. The most frequent disagreement with parents was observed when WWLST was the option selected. In this case, most professionals suggested postponing WWLST, continuing intensive care and dialogue with parents, aiming at a final shared decision. Major differences were observed between NICUs with regard to the withdrawal of artificial nutrition and hydration. Finally, 14% of MDs declared that infant active terminations of life still occurred in their NICU. Major differences concern WWLST and active termination of life, whose meaning has been partly modified since 2001.
CONCLUSION: Several major changes were observed in this survey: (1) treatment withdrawal decisions are made today in agreement with the law; (2) parents' information and involvement in the decision process have profoundly changed; (3) active termination of life (euthanasia) very rarely occurs; only at the end of a process in accordance with ethical principles and within the law is this decision made.
The law has a clear role to play in supporting patients and their substitute decision-makers (SDMs) to be involved in end-of-life (EOL) decision-making. Although existing literature suggests that knowledge of EOL law is variable among health professionals, there is little information about the extent and sources of such knowledge within the general community. A telephone survey of a representative sample of adults in three Australian States used six case scenarios to examine the extent to which adults know their legal duties, rights and powers as patients or SDMs; the sources from which people derive relevant legal knowledge; experiences of EOL decision-making; and individual characteristics associated with levels of knowledge. The results show considerable variation in levels of legal knowledge dependent primarily of the area of decision-making presented, some sizeable gaps in people's knowledge of EOL law, and varied awareness of how to access appropriate information on this subject. This study points to the need to increase community legal literacy around EOL decision-making, enhance awareness of the role of law in these circumstances and promote the availability of reliable and accessible information on the law at the time when it is needed.
INTRODUCTION: Advance healthcare directives (AHDs) in mental health offer important information regarding service users' preferences. However, whether AHDs are truly understood by providers is questionable.
AIM: To survey the knowledge and attitudes of mental health professionals towards AHDs and examine any associations with socio-demographic and occupational variables.
METHOD: We cross-sectionally surveyed the knowledge and attitudes of 113 mental health professionals by using two validated questionnaires.
RESULTS: Participants showed very positive attitudes and high levels of knowledge about the conceptual definition and application of AHDs in clinical practice but their knowledge of the legalities, procedure and registration of AHDs was poor. Working in a community, having a career specializing in mental health, or having personally signed an AHD was associated with enhanced knowledge about them. Moreover, female sex or employment as an auxiliary nursing-care technician was associated with stronger positive attitudes.
DISCUSSION: Legal and structural changes will be needed to implement AHDs in Spain and to promote competence among healthcare providers in order to include AHDs in everyday practice.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: The Spanish mental healthcare system requires legal and structural changes and must improve healthcare providers' competence in AHDs before they are implemented.
BACKGROUND: Despite recent growth in palliative care programs palliative care remains underutilized. Studies suggest that patients and providers commonly associate palliative care with end of life, often leading to misconceptions and late referrals.
OBJECTIVE: To characterize self-reported palliative care knowledge and misconceptions about palliative care among US adults and demographic, health, and social role factors associated with knowledge and misconceptions.
DESIGN: We conducted secondary data analysis of nationally representative, self-reported data from the 2018 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) 5, Cycle 2. We examined associations between knowledge and misconceptions about palliative care together with demographics, health care access, health status, and social roles.
PARTICIPANTS: 3504 US adults. 2594 included in the first analysis after omitting missing cases; 683 who reported knowing about palliative care were included in the second analysis.
MAIN MEASURES: Palliative care knowledge was self-reported in response to: "How would you describe your level of knowledge about palliative care?" Level of misconceptions was based on a series of factual and attitudinal statements about palliative care.
KEY RESULTS: Among US adults, 28.8% report knowing about palliative care, but only 12.6% report knowing what palliative care is and hold no misconceptions. Those most likely to report knowing about palliative care are female, college-educated, higher income, have a primary health care provider, or are a caregiver. Among those who report knowing about palliative care, misconceptions were common: 44.4% automatically think of death, 38.0% equate palliative care with hospice, 17.8% believe you must stop other treatments, and 15.9% see palliative care as giving up.
CONCLUSIONS: US adults who have some knowledge of palliative care are most likely to confuse it with hospice but are less likely to see it as requiring forgoing treatment or as giving up. Primary care clinicians should be encouraged to communicate about palliative care with patients.
Background: Cervical cancer is mostly diagnosed at advanced stages among the majority of women in low-income settings, with palliative care being the only feasible form of care. This study was aimed at investigating palliative care knowledge and access among women with cervical cancer in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Methods: Sequential mixed methods design was used, consisting of two surveys and a qualitative inquiry. A census of 134 women diagnosed with cervical cancer who visited two cancer treating health facilities and one palliative care provider in Harare between January and April, 2018 were enrolled in the study. Seventy-eight health workers were also enrolled in a census in the respective facilities for a survey. Validated structured questionnaires in electronic format were used for both surveys. Descriptive statistics were generated from the surveys after conducting univariate analysis using STATA. Qualitative study used interview/discussion guides for data collection. Thematic analysis was conducted for qualitative data.
Results: Mean ages of patients and health workers in the surveys were 52 years (SD = 12) and 37 years (SD = 10,respectively. Thirty-two percent of women with cervical cancer reported knowledge of where to seek palliative care. Sixty-eight percent of women with cervical cancer had received treatment, yet only 13% reported receiving palliative care. Few women with cervical cancer associated treatment with pain (13%) and side effects (32%). More women associated cervical cancer with bad smells (81%) and death (84%). Only one of the health workers reported referring patients for palliative care. Seventy-six percent of health workers reported that the majority of patients with cervical cancer sourced their own analgesics from private pharmacies. Qualitative findings revealed a limited or lack of cervical cancer knowledge among nurses especially in primary health care, the existence of stigma among women with cervical cancer and limited implementation of palliative policy.
Conclusions: This study revealed limited knowledge and access to palliative care in a low-income setting due to multi-faceted barriers. These challenges are not unique to the developing world and they present an opportunity for low-income countries to start considering and strategizing the integration of oncology and palliative care models in line with international recommendations.
CONTEXT: Quality of palliative care and death in mainland China is at a low level of the rest of the world, the public is lacked of proper understanding of the relevant information is one of the important reasons. There has been a shift in policy of palliative care in municipalities recently in mainland China.
OBJECTIVES: To measure the advance care planning-related knowledge and attitudes of Chinese community-dwelling older adults, in the hope of presenting a specific implementation of the strategy.
METHODS: We conducted a mixed-method sequential explanatory study, composed of a quantitative survey followed by qualitative interviews. The first quantitative phase included 523 community elderly individuals, who completed a validated questionnaire. After statistical analysis, a semistructured qualitative interview has been developed and conducted with 16 of them in order to help explain findings obtained in the first phase.
RESULTS: The study was conducted with 523 community-dwelling older adults. The cognition level of advance care planning (ACP) was low, and attitude toward ACP was active. Living alone or living with a spouse (and children), have a religion, poor health condition, and life-sustaining treatment-related experience can affect how they behave with ACP. However, lack of trust in ACP, lack of life education and relevant legislation or policies, and Chinese traditional culture and emotion may impede their take-up.
CONCLUSIONS: This study indicated that the awareness and participation of ACP of community-dwelling older adults in mainland China are not enough. The influence of national conditions and culture should be fully considered during the process of ACP development.
OBJECTIVES: To describe and compare self-perceived end-of-life (EOL) knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, and practices of intensive care unit (ICU) nurses compared to oncology nurses.
SAMPLE & SETTING: 126 Israeli nurses (79 oncology nurses and 47 ICU nurses) who were members of the Israel Association of Cardiology and Critical Care Nurses and the Israeli Oncology Nurses Organization.
METHODS & VARIABLES: This cross-sectional study used an online survey to gather demographic information, clinical setting, and study measures (EOL knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, and practices).
RESULTS: Oncology nurses and ICU nurses showed moderate levels of self-perceived knowledge and attitudes toward palliative care; however, their self-reported behaviors were low. Oncology nurses scored slightly higher than ICU nurses on knowledge and attitudes but not behaviors, although the difference was not statistically significant.
IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING: Contrary to the current authors' expectations, oncology nurses and ICU nurses have similar levels of knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors regarding palliative care. Nurses in both settings need to be better trained and empowered to provide such care.
BACKGROUND: Some patients do not receive adequate pain and symptom relief at the end of life, causing distress to patients, families and healthcare professionals. It is unclear whether undertreatment of symptoms occurs, in part, because of nurses' concerns about legal and/or disciplinary repercussions if the patient dies after medication is administered.
AIM: The aim was to explore nurses' experiences and knowledge of the law relating to the provision of end-of-life pain and symptom relief.
DESIGN: Semi-structured interviews with nurses were assessed using a six-stage hybrid thematic analysis technique.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Four face-to-face and 21 telephone interviews were conducted with nurses who routinely prescribed and/or administered pain and symptom relief to patients approaching the end of their lives in Queensland and New South Wales, Australia.
RESULTS: While many nurses had no personal experiences with legal or professional repercussions after a patient had died, the fear of hastening death and being held accountable was frequently discussed and regarded as relevant to the provision of inadequate pain and symptom relief. Concerns included potential civil or criminal liability and losing one's job, registration or reputation. Two-thirds of participants believed that pain relief was sometimes withheld because of these legal concerns. Less than half of the interviewed nurses demonstrated knowledge of the doctrine of double effect, the legal protection for health professionals who provide end-of-life pain and symptom relief.
CONCLUSION: Education is urgently required to strengthen nurses' knowledge of the legal protections supporting the provision of appropriate palliative medication, thereby improving their clinical practice with end-of-life patients.
Palliative care (PC) is an essential part of the healthcare system, aiming to improve the quality of life of terminally ill patients and their families through prevention, relief of suffering, and providing psychosocial and spiritual support. To achieve high-quality PC, medical education should encompass PC training, including knowledge of PC, and skills and attitudes towards PC, at the undergraduate level. The aim of this study is to identify PC knowledge and experience among undergraduate medical and nursing students at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), a government university in Oman. A validated questionnaire that measures knowledge and experiences of PC was administered to all final year medical and nursing students (N = 196) at SQU. The majority of the students (93.4%) were aware of the term PC, but most of them (68.9%) did not have any experience of PC. Around half of the students (54.9%) had a vague notion of how to implement PC, and only 41.3% felt confident in providing PC for terminally ill patients. Less than half of the students (44.8%) were aware that the patient’s family should be included in PC, as well as the patient. The majority of students (71.3%) thought that PC should be included in the undergraduate teaching curriculum, though few students (17.9%) knew that PC is currently a specialized medical unit (sub-department) in Oman. Most of the students (73.0%) thought that terminally ill patients have the right to choose “do not resuscitate,” but few students agreed that patients should be able to request a lethal dose (24.0%) or consent to a physician-assisted suicide (35.7%). Most of the students (84.7%) believed that special psychological support should be provided for doctors and nurses working in PC. Bivariate analysis showed no significance in the knowledge of applied PC in relation to which of the colleges the students were from (p = 0.283) or gender of the students (p = 0.068). Despite the fact that SQU students had favorable attitudes towards PC, they have insufficient knowledge and lack of experience. As the number of geriatric and terminal cancer patients increases across Oman, there is a need for the healthcare system to provide high-quality and effective PC services. Thus, there is an urgent need to integrate PC teaching courses as part of the undergraduate medical education for medical and nursing students.
The descriptive study was conducted to investigate the knowledge, opinions, behaviors of senior nursing students regarding euthanasia and factors in Islam influencing these. Almost all students (97.7%) knew about euthanasia. Their knowledge, opinions and behaviors were affected by their beliefs about death, religious beliefs and the idea of being subject to euthanasia themselves. Religion influenced whether they wanted euthanasia to be legalized or would carry it out secretly. Students who would be willing for their relatives to undergo euthanasia would not want to participate in this. Knowledge about the concept of euthanasia should be increased and the subject further investigated in many dimensions.
Objective: To assess levels of knowledge about patients’ rights, surrogate decision-makers, and advance directives among healthcare professionals at three hospitals in France.
Methods: A multicenter, cross-sectional study in three geriatric hospitals in the Paris area (France) in 2015. The participants’ level of knowledge was assessed via an 18-item self-questionnaire on surrogate decision-makers, advance directives, and end-of-life decision-making. The characteristics associated with a good level of knowledge were assessed using logistic regression.
Results: Among the 301 healthcare professionals (median ± standard deviation age: 40.4 ± 10.2 years; women: 73.4 %), only 15.0 % (95 % confidence interval (CI): [19.7–29.5]) correctly answered at least 75 % of the questions on patients’ rights. Respectively 24.6 % [19.7–29.5], 36.5 % [31.1–42.0] and 37.5 % [32.0–43.0] had sufficient knowledge regarding “surrogate decision-maker”, “advance directives”, and “decision-making at the end of life”. In a multivariable analysis, the only factor significantly associated with a good level of knowledge about end-of-life policy was employment in a university hospital, with a non-significant trend for status as a physician.
Conclusions: Our survey of staff working in geriatric care units highlighted the poor overall level of knowledge about healthcare surrogates and advance directives; the results suggest that additional training in these concepts is required.
Practice implications: Continuing education of healthcare professionals on advance directives and surrogate decision-maker should be promoted to ensure rights of elderly patients at the end of life.
BACKGROUND: Legal dispositions for advance care planning (ACP) are available but used by a minority of older adults in Switzerland. Some studies found that knowledge of and perception of those dispositions are positively associated with their higher usage. The objective of the present study is to test the hypothesis of an association between increased knowledge of ACP dispositions and a more positive perception of them.
METHODS: Data collected in 2014 among 2125 Swiss community-dwellers aged 71 to 80 of the Lausanne cohort 65+ (Lc65+), a population-based longitudinal study on aging and frailty. Data collection was conducted through a questionnaire on knowledge, use and perception of lasting power of attorney, advance directives and designation of a health care proxy. Covariables were extracted from the Lc65+ database. Bivariable and multivariable regression analyses assessed the association between level of knowledge and perception.
RESULTS: Half the participants did not know about legal dispositions for ACP; filing rates were 14% for advance directives, 11% for health care proxy and 6% for lasting power of attorney. Level of knowledge about the dispositions was associated with a more positive perception of them, even when adjusting for confounding factors.
CONCLUSION: Although the direction of the association's causality needs more investigation, results indicate that better knowledge on ACP dispositions could improve the perception older people have of them. Communication on dispositions should take into account individual knowledge levels and address commonly enunciated barriers that seem to diminish with increased knowledge.