Medline ® Abstract for Reference 16
of 'Advance care planning and advance directives'
Systematic implementation of an advance directive program in nursing homes: a randomized controlled trial.
Molloy DW, Guyatt GH, Russo R, Goeree R, O'Brien BJ, Bédard M, Willan A, Watson J, Patterson C, Harrison C, Standish T, Strang D, Darzins PJ, Smith S, Dubois S
CONTEXT: Although advance directives are commonly used in the community, little is known about the effects of their systematic implementation.
OBJECTIVES: To examine the effect of systematically implementing an advance directive in nursing homes on patient and family satisfaction with involvement in decision making and on health care costs.
DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial conducted June 1, 1994, to August 31, 1998.
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: A total of 1292 residents in 6 Ontario nursing homes with more than 100 residents each.
INTERVENTION: The Let Me Decide advance directive program included educating staff in local hospitals and nursing homes, residents, and families about advance directives and offering competent residents or next-of-kin of mentally incompetent residents an advance directive that provided a range of health care choices for life-threatening illness, cardiac arrest, and nutrition. The 6 nursing homes were pair-matched on key characteristics, and 1 home per pair was randomized to take part in the program. Control nursing homes continued with prior policies concerning advance directives.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Residents' and families' satisfaction with health care and health care services utilization over 18 months, compared between intervention and control nursing homes.
RESULTS: Of 527 participating residents in intervention nursing homes, 49% of competent residents and 78% of families of incompetent residents completed advance directives. Satisfaction was not significantly different in intervention and control nursing homes. The mean difference (scale, 1-7) between intervention and control homes was -0.16 (95 % confidence interval [CI], -0.41 to 0.10) for competent residents and 0.07 (95% CI, -0.08 to 0.23) for families of incompetent residents. Intervention nursing homes reported fewer hospitalizations per resident (mean, 0.27 vs 0.48; P = .001) and less resource use (average total cost per patient, Can $3490 vs Can $5239; P = .01) than control nursing homes. Proportion of deaths in intervention (24%) and control (28%) nursing homes were similar (P = .20).
CONCLUSION: Our data suggest that systematic implementation of a program to increase use of advance directives reduces health care services utilization without affecting satisfaction or mortality.
Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Ontario, Canada. email@example.com