ACare: a communication training program for shared decision making along a life-limiting illness

Palliat Support Care. 2004 Sep;2(3):231-41. doi: 10.1017/s1478951504040325.


Objective: This article describes an innovative 8-h training program that provides clinicians with the competencies necessary to conduct efficient, effective, and compassionate advance care planning discussions throughout the trajectory of life-limiting illnesses.

Method: The Advance Care Training Program (ACare) includes 6 h of group workshops and 2 h of one-on-one faculty-learner interaction. In this article, we describe the (1) objectives of ACare; (2) structure, training procedures, and educational rationale of ACare training; and (3) educational outcome studies in progress.

Results: ACare training in various forms has already been provided to over 100 medical professionals (medical students, medical residents, oncology and geriatric fellows, medical attendings, social workers, and nurses). Formative outcome data indicate considerable trainee satisfaction. Emerging summative outcome data indicate improved skills.

Significance of results: Widespread adoption of the program could increase the frequency and quality of advance care planning discussions between patients with life-limiting illnesses, their health care providers, and families.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Advance Care Planning*
  • Communication*
  • Decision Making*
  • Education, Medical, Continuing*
  • Humans
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Terminal Care / standards*