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      The impact of advance care planning on end of life care in elderly patients: randomised controlled trial

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          Abstract

          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.

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          Most cited references35

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          Risk of post-traumatic stress symptoms in family members of intensive care unit patients.

          Intensive care unit (ICU) admission of a relative is a stressful event that may cause symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Factors associated with these symptoms need to be identified. For patients admitted to 21 ICUs between March and November 2003, we studied the family member with the main potential decision-making role. Ninety days after ICU discharge or death, family members completed the Impact of Event Scale (which evaluates the severity of post-traumatic stress reactions), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and 36-item Short-Form General Health Survey during a telephone interview. Linear regression was used to identify factors associated with the risk of post-traumatic stress symptoms. Interviews were obtained for family members of 284 (62%) of the 459 eligible patients. Post-traumatic stress symptoms consistent with a moderate to major risk of PTSD were found in 94 (33.1%) family members. Higher rates were noted among family members who felt information was incomplete in the ICU (48.4%), who shared in decision making (47.8%), whose relative died in the ICU (50%), whose relative died after end-of-life decisions (60%), and who shared in end-of-life decisions (81.8%). Severe post-traumatic stress reaction was associated with increased rates of anxiety and depression and decreased quality of life. Post-traumatic stress reaction consistent with a high risk of PTSD is common in family members of ICU patients and is the rule among those who share in end-of-life decisions. Research is needed to investigate PTSD rates and to devise preventive and early-detection strategies.
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            A communication strategy and brochure for relatives of patients dying in the ICU.

            There is a need for close communication with relatives of patients dying in the intensive care unit (ICU). We evaluated a format that included a proactive end-of-life conference and a brochure to see whether it could lessen the effects of bereavement. Family members of 126 patients dying in 22 ICUs in France were randomly assigned to the intervention format or to the customary end-of-life conference. Participants were interviewed by telephone 90 days after the death with the use of the Impact of Event Scale (IES; scores range from 0, indicating no symptoms, to 75, indicating severe symptoms related to post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD]) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS; subscale scores range from 0, indicating no distress, to 21, indicating maximum distress). Participants in the intervention group had longer conferences than those in the control group (median, 30 minutes [interquartile range, 19 to 45] vs. 20 minutes [interquartile range, 15 to 30]; P<0.001) and spent more of the time talking (median, 14 minutes [interquartile range, 8 to 20] vs. 5 minutes [interquartile range, 5 to 10]). On day 90, the 56 participants in the intervention group who responded to the telephone interview had a significantly lower median IES score than the 52 participants in the control group (27 vs. 39, P=0.02) and a lower prevalence of PTSD-related symptoms (45% vs. 69%, P=0.01). The median HADS score was also lower in the intervention group (11, vs. 17 in the control group; P=0.004), and symptoms of both anxiety and depression were less prevalent (anxiety, 45% vs. 67%; P=0.02; depression, 29% vs. 56%; P=0.003). Providing relatives of patients who are dying in the ICU with a brochure on bereavement and using a proactive communication strategy that includes longer conferences and more time for family members to talk may lessen the burden of bereavement. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00331877.) 2007 Massachusetts Medical Society
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              A controlled trial to improve care for seriously ill hospitalized patients. The study to understand prognoses and preferences for outcomes and risks of treatments (SUPPORT). The SUPPORT Principal Investigators.

              (1995)
              To improve end-of-life decision making and reduce the frequency of a mechanically supported, painful, and prolonged process of dying. A 2-year prospective observational study (phase I) with 4301 patients followed by a 2-year controlled clinical trial (phase II) with 4804 patients and their physicians randomized by specialty group to the intervention group (n = 2652) or control group (n = 2152). Five teaching hospitals in the United States. A total of 9105 adults hospitalized with one or more of nine life-threatening diagnoses; an overall 6-month mortality rate of 47%. Physicians in the intervention group received estimates of the likelihood of 6-month survival for every day up to 6 months, outcomes of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and functional disability at 2 months. A specifically trained nurse had multiple contacts with the patient, family, physician, and hospital staff to elicit preferences, improve understanding of outcomes, encourage attention to pain control, and facilitate advance care planning and patient-physician communication. The phase I observation documented shortcomings in communication, frequency of aggressive treatment, and the characteristics of hospital death: only 47% of physicians knew when their patients preferred to avoid CPR: 46% of do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders were written within 2 days of death; 38% of patients who died spent at least 10 days in an intensive care unit (ICU); and for 50% of conscious patients who died in the hospital, family members reported moderate to severe pain at least half the time. During the phase II intervention, patients experienced no improvement in patient-physician communication (eg, 37% of control patients and 40% of intervention patients discussed CPR preferences) or in the five targeted outcomes, ie, incidence or timing of written DNR orders (adjusted ratio, 1.02; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.90 to 1.15), physicians' knowledge of their patients' preferences not to be resuscitated (adjusted ratio, 1.22; 95% CI, 0.99 to 1.49), number of days spent in an ICU, receiving mechanical ventilation, or comatose before death (adjusted ratio, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.87 to 1.07), or level of reported pain (adjusted ratio, 1.15; 95% CI, 1.00 to 1.33). The intervention also did not reduce use of hospital resources (adjusted ratio, 1.05; 95% CI, 0.99 to 1.12). The phase I observation of SUPPORT confirmed substantial shortcomings in care for seriously ill hospitalized adults. The phase II intervention failed to improve care or patient outcomes. Enhancing opportunities for more patient-physician communication, although advocated as the major method for improving patient outcomes, may be inadequate to change established practices. To improve the experience of seriously ill and dying patients, greater individual and societal commitment and more proactive and forceful measured may be needed.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: respiratory physician and clinical leader
                Role: project officer
                Role: physician
                Role: intensive care physician and director
                Journal
                BMJ
                bmj
                BMJ : British Medical Journal
                BMJ Publishing Group Ltd.
                0959-8138
                1468-5833
                2010
                2010
                23 March 2010
                : 340
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Respecting Patient Choices Program, Austin Health, PO Box 555, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia 3084
                [2 ]Intensive Care Unit, Austin Health
                Author notes
                Correspondence to: K M Detering Karen.detering@ 123456austin.org.au
                Article
                detk699322
                10.1136/bmj.c1345
                2844949
                20332506
                cd3ce76f-7c99-43a4-9976-5c432f620a17
                © Detering et al 2010

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/ and http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode.

                Product
                Categories
                Research
                Clinical trials (epidemiology)
                End of life decisions (geriatric medicine)
                End of life decisions (palliative care)
                End of life decisions (ethics)

                Medicine
                Medicine

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