Background COVID-19 could lead to hospitalisation and ICU admission, especially in older adults. Therefore, during the pandemic, it became more important to discuss wishes and preferences, such as older peoples’ desire for intensive treatment in a hospital in acute situations, or not. This study explores 1) what percentage of Dutch older people aged 75 and over discussed Advance Care Planning (ACP) topics with a physician during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic and 2) whether this was different in these people before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods Data of two ancillary data collections of the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA) were used: the LASA 75 PLUS study and the LASA COVID-19 study. The cross-sectional part of this study consisted of N=428 people aged 75 years and older who completed the LASA COVID-19 questionnaire (first objective). The longitudinal sample consisted of 219 people aged 75 years and older who had data on both the LASA 75 PLUS Study and the LASA COVID-19 study (second objective).
Results Most older adults had thought about ACP topics during COVID-19 (76,4%), and a minority had also discussed ACP topics with a physician (20.3%). Thinking about ACP topics increased during COVID-19 compared to before COVID-19 in a sample with measurements on both timeframes (82,5% vs 68,0%). People who discussed ACP with others were more likely to discuss ACP with a physician.
Conclusion Older people do think about ACP topics, which is an important first step in ACP, and this has increased during COVID-19. However, discussing ACP topics with a physician is still not that common. General practitioners could therefore take the initiative in broaching the subject of ACP. This can for instance be done by organizing information meetings.
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