To explore seriously ill, older hospitalised patients' and their family members' perspectives on the barriers and facilitators of advance care planning (ACP).
We used qualitative descriptive study methodology to analyse data from an interviewer administered, questionnaire-based, Canadian multicentre, prospective study of this population.
Three main categories described these barriers and facilitators: (1) person (beliefs, attitudes, experiences, health status), (2) access (to doctors and healthcare providers, information, tools and infrastructure to communicate ACP preferences) and (3) the interaction with the doctor (who and how initiated, location, timing, quality of communication, relationship with doctor).
Based on the findings, we suggest strategies for both healthcare systems and individual healthcare providers to improve the quality and quantity of ACP with this population. These include assessing readiness for participation in ACP and personalising relevance of ACP to each individual, routinely offering scheduled family meetings for exploring a person's own goals and sharing information, ensuring systems and policies are in place to access previous ACP documentation and ensuring doctors' education includes ACP communication skills.