Purpose: Advance care planning (ACP) allows an individual to discuss and document their personal preferences at end-of-life. ACP has been shown to improve communication and reduce discomfort for patients and their families. The literature supports utilizing formalized, multimodality training programs for healthcare providers in order to increase their confidence in initiating ACP discussions. These findings led to the initiation of an evidence-based practice project in a primary care setting with the purpose of increasing advance care planning discussions between providers and patients with the use of a standardized education tool.
Background and Significance: National regulations mandate that patients are provided information about advance directives in the healthcare setting, but completion rates are not monitored and continue to be low. ACP is now a billable service for healthcare providers, but it has not provided enough incentive to increase completion rates. Barriers for healthcare providers in the outpatient setting include lack of time, protocols, and lack of education on how to initiate and foster advance care planning discussions.
Methods: Healthcare providers in a primary care office attended a 15-minute structured educational session with and a toolkit was provided on the importance of ACP, how to initiate conversations with patients, and bill for the service. Participants completed a portion of the Knowledge, Attitudinal, and Experiential Survey on Advance Directives (KAESAD) survey assessing their confidence in ACP before and three months post intervention. Participant confidence (N = 6) in ACP was analyzed using the Wilcoxin test and descriptive statistics. The number of billed ACP services for the office was collected for four months post intervention and compared to the previous four months. Outcomes: A significant increase in provider confidence after participating in a multimodality education program was found in the results (Z = -2.21, p = .03). There was a 42.1% increase in the number of billed ACP discussions for the office in the four months post intervention.
Conclusion: The future desired state is that ACP discussions become standard practice in primary care leading to the completion of advance directives. This can be accomplished through formalized education sessions and resources for providers in order to increase their confidence in initiating ACP discussions with patients. The ultimate goal is to decrease unnecessary spending at end-of-life while improving patient and family satisfaction with the quality of care received at end-of-life.