Shape and Future of Advance Care Planning in the WWAMI Region
Principal Investigators:  JR Curtis, RA Engelberg
Research Grant: ITHS – Community Partners in Research Funding Program

Research on palliative and end-of-life care indicates that people who are dying often experience a significant burden of symptoms and receive care they would not choose. Advance care planning is an important focus for improving care because it is associated with improved quality of life, reduced anxiety, and fewer life-sustaining treatments at the end of life. Furthermore, clinicians frequently do not have discussions about end-of-life care even though many patients desire these discussions. This project’s goal is to determine current self-reported practice for clinicians and administrators regarding advance care planning and documentation of advance directives for patients with serious illness across diverse settings.  The project will also determine the level of interest among clinicians and administrators for participating in intervention studies to enhance advance care planning for patients with serious illness and the types of interventions that would be of most interest. Primary and specialty care clinicians from five RC2 Network sites in three WWAMI states (Idaho, Montana, Washington) are participating in this mixed-methods study. They are asked to complete a short anonymous on-line survey and, if willing, participate in a semi-structured phone interview to discuss  in greater depth their advance care planning practices, policies and interest in participating in future interventions. Survey data will be analyzed descriptively, and interview data will be analyzed using content analysis.  Benefits to collaborating clinics include access to information about their clinicians’ self-reported advance care planning practices and input into the shape that advance care planning interventions might take.