Objectives Advance care planning (ACP) can help patients with a terminal illness to prepare for the end of their lives. This report describes a regional service improvement initiative to increase the identification of hospital inpatients at this stage in their illnesses and to increase the number of such patients who are offered the opportunity to start the process of ACP.
Methods Data were collected prospectively over a 7 month period from four acute hospital trusts and a specialist cancer centre in the South-West London region. Each unit identified a specific patient population who were screened for eligibility to engage in the process of ACP. Data concerning the reasons for eligibility, the suitability for discussion and the various reasons why patients did not complete the process, were recorded.
Results Over a 7 month period 1980 patients were screened and 559 (28.2%) were found to be potentially eligible for an ACP discussion. Of these 227/559 (40.6%) were deemed suitable for a discussion by medical staff. The majority of these patients (195/227; 86%) were offered the opportunity to undergo ACP discussions and 144/195 (73.8%) agreed to begin the process of ACP.
Conclusions This report shows that a targeted approach can result in increased uptake in the number of patients who engage in ACP. However, systematic identification of potentially eligible patients requires a significant investment of clinical time and resources.
- Advance Care Planning
- Discharge Planning
- Service Evaluation
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