Keeping with our recent theme of thinking about Advance Care Planning, there’s an interesting new study coming out in JPSM (currently available in pre-proof format) reporting an effort to implement a (two) system-wide Advance Care Planning initiative.
Ultimately the numbers tell a somewhat-discouraging tale…between the two health systems there were a total of ~38,000 patient mailings –> ~29,000 human active outreach attempts by staff –> ~8,000 patients reached by staff –> ~2,500 conversations scheduled –> ~1,800 conversations occurred
So…these folks actively attempted to reach 29,000 patients (38,000 via mail) and ultimately spoke to 1,800, which is about 16%. What ultimately happened with those conversations is unclear.
Those are the numbers, whether they’re good, good-enough, or otherwise is a matter of discernment. The final judgement would need to take into account whether all of this had any measurable impact towards improving patients’ medical care, etc. This study was not designed to measure this, though it has been studied previously…and the review are, shall we say, mixed.
All this being said, we continue to encourage the development and practice of communication skills aimed at improving our ability to help patients and their loved ones make decisions that are right for them. This is an ongoing process and cannot be accomplished with one-time …well… one-time anything.
Our advice remains, name the Skills (and Steps =)), purposefully practice them… maybe take an ACT Course… and also feel free to let us know how it’s going!