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.