Resident approaches to advance care planning on the day of hospital admission

Arch Intern Med. 2006 Aug 14-28;166(15):1597-602. doi: 10.1001/archinte.166.15.1597.


Background: Advance care planning is the process of establishing a patient's goals and preferences for future care. Previous research has demonstrated a need to improve patient-physician communication around advance care planning. A critical time for advance care planning conversations is the day of admission to the hospital.

Methods: A survey of internal medicine residents was administered at Duke University Medical Center and the Brigham and Women's Hospital, 2 major academic teaching centers. Residents were questioned about their approaches to advance care planning on their last on-call admitting day.

Results: Of 347 residents solicited, 292 (84.1%) participated in the survey. Residents reported that they established preferences for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with 70.5% of patients, established a health care proxy with 33.7% of patients, discussed goals and values concerning end-of-life care with 32.0% of patients, and asked 35.6% of patients if they had an advance directive. Although 89.0% of residents had observed an advance care planning discussion model, only 66.4% had received teaching and 36.6% had received feedback about advance care planning conversations. In multivariable analysis, having received feedback about advance care planning conversations was associated with a higher percentage of conversations about health care proxy and goals and values related to the end of life.

Conclusions: Residents discuss patient preferences for CPR on the day of admission with most patients. Preparing residents, particularly through feedback, may improve communication around other elements of advance care planning.

MeSH terms

  • Advance Care Planning / standards*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
  • Communication
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine*
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Male
  • Patient Admission / standards*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*