More information needed to determine the effectiveness of different types of decision aids for advanced care planning

Decision Aids (Credit: Anon)Main Point:

Decision aids are underutilized for advanced care planning and their effectiveness is not well documented.

Published in:

Annals of Internal Medicine

Study Further:

An advanced care plan is a directive that explains a patient’s goals and preferences for future care in the event of serious illness or injury. Currently, less than 50 percent of severely or terminally ill patients have an advance directive in their medical record and physicians are only about 65 percent accurate in predicting patient preferences for intensive care. Decision aids are intended to help patients consider options in health care so that they may develop an advanced care plan, but little is known about their effectiveness.

The authors found that many widely available decision aids have not been assessed for effectiveness, while those decision aids that have been assessed in the published empirical literature are not generally publicly available. Decision aids come in two general types; one type is constructed for the general population, while the other type is disease-specific and intended for disease-specific conditions with more predictable end-of-life scenarios and distinct choices. The researchers identified areas for improvement with regard to decision aids and suggested additional areas for research.

Further Information:

Annals of Internal Medicine – http://www.annals.org/article.aspx?doi=10.7326/M14-0644

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