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Medline ® Abstracts for References 1,11

of 'Advance care planning and advance directives'

The impact of advance care planning on end of life care in elderly patients: randomised controlled trial.
Detering KM, Hancock AD, Reade MC, Silvester W
BMJ. 2010;340:c1345. Epub 2010 Mar 23.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the impact of advance care planning on end of life care in elderly patients.
DESIGN: Prospective randomised controlled trial.
SETTING: Single centre study in a university hospital in Melbourne, Australia.
PARTICIPANTS: 309 legally competent medical inpatients aged 80 or more and followed for six months or until death.
INTERVENTIONS: Participants were randomised to receive usual care or usual care plus facilitated advance care planning. Advance care planning aimed to assist patients to reflect on their goals, values, and beliefs; to consider future medical treatment preferences; to appoint a surrogate; and to document their wishes.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome was whether a patient's end of life wishes were known and respected. Other outcomes included patient and family satisfaction with hospital stay and levels of stress, anxiety, and depression in relatives of patients who died.
RESULTS: 154 of the 309 patients were randomised to advance care planning, 125 (81%) received advance care planning, and 108 (84%) expressed wishes or appointed a surrogate, or both. Of the 56 patients who died by six months, end of life wishes were much more likely to be known and followed in the intervention group (25/29, 86%) compared with the control group (8/27, 30%; P<0.001). In the intervention group, family members of patients who died had significantly less stress (intervention 5, control 15; P<0.001), anxiety (intervention 0, control 3; P=0.02), and depression (intervention 0, control 5; P=0.002) than those of the control patients. Patient and family satisfaction was higher in the intervention group.
CONCLUSIONS: Advance care planning improves end of life care and patient and family satisfaction and reduces stress, anxiety, and depression in surviving relatives. Trial registration Australian New Zealand clinical trials registry ACTRN12608000539336.
Respecting Patient Choices Program, Austin Health, PO Box 555, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia. Karen.detering@austin.org.au
Death and end-of-life planning in one midwestern community.
Hammes BJ, Rooney BL
Arch Intern Med. 1998 Feb;158(4):383-90.
BACKGROUND: The major health care organizations in a geographically defined area implemented an extensive, collaborative advance directive education program approximately 2 years prior to this study.
OBJECTIVES: To determine for a geographically defined population the prevalence and type of end-of-life planning and the relationship between end-of-life plans and decisions in all local health care organizations, including hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, home health agencies, hospices, and the county health department.
METHODS: For more than 11 months, end-of-life planning and decisions were retrospectively studied for all adult decedents residing in areas within 5 ZIP codes. These decedents were mentally capable in the 10 years prior to death and died while under the care of the participating health care organizations. Data were collected from medical records and death certificates. Treating physicians and decedent proxies were also contacted for interviews.
RESULTS: A total of 540 decedents were included in this study. The prevalence of written advance directives was 85%. Almost all these documents (95%) were in the decedent's medical record. The median time between advance directive documentation and death was 1.2 years. Almost all advance directive documents requested that treatment be forgone as death neared. Treatment was forgone in 98% of the deaths. Treatment preferences expressed in advance directives seemed to be consistently followed while making end-of-life decisions.
CONCLUSIONS: This study provides a more complete picture of death, end-of-life planning, and decision making in a geographic area where an extensive advance directive education program exists. It indicates that advance planning can be prevalent and can effectively guide end-of-life decisions.
Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center, La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA. bhammes@gc.gundluth.org