Patients, physicians and the health care system are faced with the challenge of determining, and respecting, the medical wishes of an aging population. Patient autonomy and informed decision-making can only be maximised when the decision-making process is better understood. In 2008, Alberta Health Services initiated its “Advance Care Planning: Goals of Care Designation” (ACP:GCD) policy in the Calgary Zone. This policy encouraged discussions about goals of care (GOC) and used a tracking form to capture these conversations. Chart audits were performed at 3 time points: at baseline, at 6 months, and at 18 months post implementation. Recorded data included presence of an advance directive on the chart, indication of a personal representative/agent, and the number, participants and recorded key outcomes of documented ACP conversations.
This study will perform a retrospective review of the results of those audits in both Long Term Care (LTC) and Designated Assisted Living sites (DAL). Specifically, we will address what elements of ACP were discussed including: prognosis and anticipated outcomes of treatment, patient's values and understanding/expectation of treatment options, life sustaining measures/degree of benefit, comfort measures, resources available and GOC. 166 charts had documented ACP discussions, representing 81% of LTC charts reviewed and 87% of those in DAL.
The limitations of this study are those retrospective data and the reliance on accurate/thorough chart documentation. The study will identify current practice in the advance care planning process in LTC And DAL and potential gaps in that practice.
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