Availability of Advance Care Planning Documentation for Older Emergency Department Patients: A Cross-Sectional Study.J Palliat Med. 2017 01; 20(1):74-78.JP
Increasing advance care planning (ACP) among older adults is a national priority. Documentation of ACP in the electronic health record (EHR) is particularly important during emergency care.
We sought to characterize completion and availability of ACP among a subset of older patients at an academic emergency department (ED) with an integrated EHR.
In this cross-sectional study, patients were eligible if aged ≥80 years or aged 65-79 with ≥1 indicator of high risk for short-term mortality. Patient-reported completion of ACP and availability of ACP documentation in the EHR were assessed.
Among study patients (n = 104), 59% reported completing some form of ACP: living will 52%, heathcare power of attorney 54%, do not resuscitate 38%, and medical orders for scope of treatment or physician orders for life-sustaining treatment 6%. Whites were more likely to report having some form of ACP than minorities (66% vs. 37%, p < 0.01), as were patients aged ≥80 years than those aged 65-79 (79% vs. 44%, p < 0.01). Only 13% of all patients had either a current code status or any other current ACP documentation in the EHR. Among patients whose primary care provider uses the same EHR system as the study ED, only 19% had a current code status or any other ACP documentation in the EHR.
In a sample of older ED patients likely to benefit from ACP, few patients had documented end-of-life care preferences in the EHR.