Advance Directives in Long-Term Care: Implementation of Five Wishes
Background and Purpose: The lack of an advance directive (AD) can predispose a person to an aggressive course of treatment despite their wishes. When AD’s are incomplete, the chances of unwanted procedures, such as tube feedings and repeated transitioning between nursing homes and hospitals often result in the risk of increased mortality and morbidity, especially for older adults. Making end-of-life decisions can improve the quality of death by allowing individuals to make decisions to die in a dignified manner. The purpose of this project was to improve AD completion rates by implementing “Five Wishes” (FW) into the admission process in a long-term care facility (LTCF).
Methods: The project took place on the skilled nursing units at a LTCF in Southwestern Arizona over a 2-month period of time. Twenty random charts were assessed before the start of the project to determine the residents AD status. Those 20 were then informed about FW’s and encouraged to complete one, along with all newly admitted residents to the skilled nursing units. Logs were used for data collection and each participating resident signed a HIPPA document. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the sample and outcome variables.
Outcomes Of the 20 current residents included in the quantitative chart assessment, 6 (30%) residents completed a FW’s document. Fifty residents were admitted during the project span and 21 (42%) of them completed FW’s.
Conclusions: The FW’s completion rates were lower than expected. None of the residents had an AD more detailed than a basic full code or do not resuscitate (DNR) status before being informed of FW’s. It is recommended that the facility social workers would have implemented the intervention to increase the likelihood of adherence.