Background: The patient-directed PREPAREforYourCare.org program empowers patients to participate in advance care planning (ACP) discussions with clinicians. Our goal was to determine whether PREPARE could reciprocally increase clinician ACP communication.
Methods: In a secondary analysis of two trials evaluating the efficacy of PREPARE plus an easy-to-read advance directive (AD) versus an AD alone, patients were included if they were ≥55 years old, English- or Spanish-speaking, and had ≥2 chronic conditions. We audio-recorded postintervention primary care visits and used the validated clinician-patient participation coding scheme to calculate the number of clinician ACP utterances concerning information-giving, recommendations, or supportive talk. We examined differences by study arm using mixed effects negative binomial models, stratifying by language. To assess possible mediation, we adjusted for active patient participation (e.g., asking questions or stating preferences).
Results: Three hundred ninety-three visits were audio-recorded (177 in PREPARE arm and 216 in AD-only arm). Recordings included 179 clinicians (mean 2.2 [SD 1.9] patients each). Patients' mean age was 66 ± 8 years, 31% had limited health literacy, and 25% were Spanish-speaking. Exactly 67% of recordings included information-giving, 85% recommendations, and 62% supportive talk. PREPARE resulted in 51% more clinician supportive talk versus the AD alone (mean 4.5 [8.9] vs. 2.9 [6.0] utterances; incidence rate ratio 1.51 [95% CI 1.02-2.24]). Effects were most pronounced among Spanish speakers. There were no differences in information-giving or recommendations. After adjusting for active patient participation, no differences in supportive talk remained.
Conclusions: The patient-directed PREPARE program was associated with greater clinician supportive ACP communication with older adults compared with an AD alone; the effect was most pronounced among Spanish speakers and was mediated by active patient participation. Thus, PREPARE helps patients be more engaged communicators, which in turn encourages clinicians to be more supportive of patients. Enhanced patient-clinician communication represents an important mechanism by which PREPARE may decrease disparities in ACP.
Keywords: advance care planning; diverse populations; older adults; patient activation; patient-provider communication.
© 2021 The American Geriatrics Society.