Frequency of discussing and documenting advance care planning in primary care: secondary analysis of a multicenter cross-sectional observational study

Jun Hamano, Ai Oishi, Tatsuya Morita, Yoshiyuki Kizawa

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Abstract / Description of output

Background:To improve the quality of advance care planning (ACP) in primary care, it is important to understandthe frequency of and topics involved in the ACP discussion between patients and their family physicians (FPs).Methods:A secondary analysis of a previous multicenter cross-sectional observational study was performed. Theprimary outcome of this analysis was the frequency of and topics involved in the ACP discussion between outpatientsand FPs. In March 2017, 22 family physicians at 17 clinics scheduled a day to assess outpatients and enrolled patientsolder than 65 years who were recognized by FPs as having regular visits. We defined three ACP discussion topics: 1)future decline in activities of daily living (ADL), 2) future inability to eat, and 3) surrogate decision makers. FPs assessedwhether they had ever discussed any ACP topics with each patient and their family members, and if they haddocumented the results of these discussions in medical records before patients were enrolled in the present study. Wedefined patients as being at risk of deteriorating and dying if they had at least 2 positive general indicators or at least 1positive disease-specific indicator in the Japanese version of the Supportive and Palliative Care Indicators Tool.Results:In total, 382 patients with a mean age of 77.4 ± 7.9 years were enrolled, and 63.1% were female. Seventy-ninepatients (20.7%) had discussed at least one ACP topic with their FPs. However, only 23 patients (6.0%) had discussed anACP topic with family members and their FPs, with the results being documented in their medical records. The topic offuture ADL decline was discussed and documented more often than the other two topics. Patients at risk of deterioratingand dying discussed ACP topics significantly more often than those not at risk of deteriorating and dying (39.4% vs.16.8%,p<0.001).Conclusion:FPs may discuss ACP with some of their patients, but may not often document the results of this discussionin medical records. FPs need to be encouraged to discuss ACP with patients and family members and describe thedecisions reached in medical records.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC palliative care
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2020

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