Research is limited on end-of-life treatment decisions made by African American family caregivers. In a pilot study, we examined the feasibility of implementing an advance care treatment plan (ACT-Plan), a group-based education intervention, with African American dementia caregivers. Theoretically based, the ACT-Plan included strategies to enhance knowledge, self-efficacy, and behavioral skills to make end-of-life treatment plans in advance. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, mechanical ventilation, and tube feeding were end-of-life treatments discussed in the ACT-Plan. In a four-week pre/posttest two-group design at urban adult day care centers, 68 caregivers were assigned to the ACT-Plan or attention-control health promotion conditions. Findings strongly suggest that the ACT-Plan intervention is feasible and appropriate for African American caregivers. Self-efficacy and knowledge about dementia, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, mechanical ventilation, and tube feeding increased for ACT-Plan participants but not for the attention-control. More ACT-Plan than attention-control participants developed advance care plans for demented relatives. Findings warrant a randomized efficacy trial.
Keywords: African Americans; advance care planning; dementia caregivers.