Advanced Care Directives: Overcoming the Obstacles

Sarah Leatherman Allen, Kimberly S Davis, Paul C Rousseau, Patty J Iverson, Patrick D Mauldin, William P Moran
Journal of Graduate Medical Education 2015, 7 (1): 91-4

BACKGROUND: Advanced care directives (ACDs) and end-of-life discussions are important and typically difficult to initiate because of the sensitive nature of the topic and competing clinical priorities. Resident physicians need to have these conversations but often do not in their continuity clinics.

OBJECTIVE: We implemented a program to (1) increase physician opportunity to discuss end-of-life wishes with their patients, and (2) improve residents' confidence in leading discussions regarding ACDs.

INTERVENTION: A total of 95 residents in an academic outpatient internal medicine resident continuity clinic participated in a formalized curriculum (didactic sessions, simulations, and academic detailing). Clinic workflow alterations prompted the staff to question if patients had an ACD or living will, and then cued residents to discuss these issues with the patients if they did not.

RESULTS: Of the 77% of patients who were asked about ACDs, 74% had no ACD but were interested in discussing this topic. After our intervention, 65% (62 of 95) of our residents reported having at least 1 outpatient discussion with their patients. Residents reported increased confidence directing and discussing advanced care planning with older patients and conducting a family meeting (Pā€‰<ā€‰.01).

CONCLUSIONS: By delivering a formalized curriculum and creating a clinical environment that supports such discussions, resident physicians had more ACD discussions with their patients and reported increased confidence. When provided information and opportunity, patients consistently expressed interest in talking with their physician about their advanced care wishes.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"