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Advance care planning and place of death, hospitalisation and actual place of death in lung, heart and cancer disease: a randomised controlled trial


Objectives Advance care planning (ACP) can be a way to meet patients’ end-of-life preferences and enhance awareness of end-of-life care. Thereby it may affect actual place of death (APOD) and decrease the rate of hospitalisations. The aim was to investigate if ACP among terminally ill patients with lung, heart and cancer diseases effects fulfilment of preferred place of death (PPOD), amount of time spent in hospital and APOD.

Methods The study was designed as a randomised controlled trial. Patients were assessed using general and disease-specific criteria and randomised into groups: one received usual care and one received usual care plus ACP. The intervention consisted of a discussion between a healthcare professional, the patient and their relatives about preferences for end-of-life care. The discussion was documented in the hospital file.

Results In total, 205 patients were randomised, of which 111 died during follow-up. No significant differences in fulfilment of PPOD (35% vs 52%, p=0.221) or in amount of time spent in hospital among deceased patients (49% vs 23%, p=0.074) were found between groups. A significant difference in APOD was found favouring home death in the intervention group (17% vs 40%, p=0.013).

Conclusion Concerning the primary outcome, fulfilment of PPOD, and the secondary outcome, time spent in hospital, no differences were found. A significant difference concerning APOD was found, as more patients in the intervention group died at home, compared with the usual care group.

Trial registration number NCT01944813.

  • end-of-life preferences
  • advance care planning
  • heart failure
  • respiratory conditions
  • cancer
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