Assessment of advance care planning documentation for residents of residential aged care facilities presenting to the emergency department.Aust Health Rev. 2020 Dec; 44(6):847-852.AH
Objective This study assessed the availability and quality of advance care planning (ACP) documentation among older residential aged care facility (RACF) residents who presented to the emergency department (ED). Methods A prospective review of the medical records of RACF residents aged ≥75 years who presented to the ED from May to June 2018 was conducted. Availability of ACP was determined based on the presence of an ACP document inclusive of an advance care directive (ACD) in the medical record. The quality of ACP documentation was determined based on the presence of nine key components. Results In all, 48.8% of patients presented to the ED with either ACP or an ACD. However, only a mean total of 3.8 (out of 9) ACP components were documented in these documents. Conclusions Just under half (48.8%) of RACF residents presented to the ED with ACP documentation. There was limited coverage of core ACP components needed to guide clinical decision making. What is known about the topic? RACF residents are in the last years of their life and commonly lack capacity to make decisions regarding health care. Residents are at high risk of dying when acutely unwell in hospital. ACP documentation, when readily available, helps provide appropriate end-of-life care and improves both patient and family satisfaction. What does this paper add? Less than half the residents reporting to the ED from an RACF had ACP documentation available for clinicians. For those who presented to the ED with ACP documentation, most lacked sufficient information needed to provide care in full accordance with the patient's preferences. What are the implications for practitioners? There is a need to encourage, initiate, actively engage and develop systems for ACP conversations, documentation and availability when acutely unwell for people living in RACFs to provide sufficient information to guide clinical decision making. Without quality ACP, the provision of patient-centred health care may be compromised.