Formal ventilation patient education for ALS predicts real-life choices

Amyotroph Lateral Scler. 2012 Jan;13(1):59-65. doi: 10.3109/17482968.2011.626053.


Our objective was to evaluate a single-session, hands-on education programme on mechanical ventilation for ALS patients and caregivers in terms of knowledge, change in affect and to determine whether ventilator decisions made after the education sessions predict those made later in life. Questionnaires were administered to 26 patients and 26 caregivers on four separate occasions. The questionnaires assessed knowledge of ventilatory support, feedback on the nature of the education programme, as well as self-reported emotional well-being. All patients were followed until their death or until initiation of invasive ventilation. Both groups demonstrated significant improvements in knowledge as a result of the education session which was retained after one month. There was no change in patient or caregiver reports' self-reported emotional well-being. The choices of ventilatory support expressed at one month (T4) accurately predicted the real-life clinical choices made by 76% of patients. Any difference resulted from choosing palliative care. Hands-on patient and caregiver education results in improved knowledge, assists in decision-making with respect to ventilatory support, and is not associated with a worsening of affect. It also provides for an accurate prediction of real-life choices and avoids undesired life support interventions and critical care admissions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / physiopathology
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / therapy*
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Decision Making*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Palliative Care / methods*
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Respiration, Artificial / methods
  • Respiration, Artificial / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires