The perception of Israeli oncology staff members regarding advance care planning.Support Care Cancer. 2020 Jan 03 [Online ahead of print]SC
Advance care planning (ACP) defines end-of-life care in accordance with the patients' preferences. It is highly important during mental and/or physical deterioration, which prevents patients from expressing their wishes. Despite various attempts worldwide to promote the issue, it is not well established, suggesting various challenges in the implementation of the process in the medical system. The current study aimed to evaluate the perception of Israeli oncology staff members regarding the process.
Physicians and nurses from a division of oncology participated in the study. They completed the study's questionnaires, which included quantitative items regarding staff and patients' motives and barriers, as well as qualitative questions to better evaluate their understanding regarding the process.
According to staff members, the optimal time to complete the forms is during the final stages of the disease. Making the right medical decisions and avoiding unnecessary medical procedures were rated as the main motives for patients in the process. The communication factor was perceived as the main barrier for patients, as well as the main motive and barrier for staff. The central role of communication was demonstrated in the qualitative section as well. Various differences were demonstrated between staff members who talked with patients about ACP and those who did not.
The study demonstrated the central role of communication in the process of ACP from the staff's perception. This highlights the need to further promote training programs for staff members to establish better interactions and communication skills when dealing with end-of-life issues.