Advance care planning (ACP) provides patients with an opportunity to consider, discuss, and plan their future care with health professionals. Numerous policy documents recommend that ACP should be available to all with life-limiting illness.
Forty patients with recurrent progressive cancer completed one or more ACP discussions with a trained planning mediator using a standardized topic guide. Fifty-two interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed for qualitative thematic content.
Most patients had not spoken extensively to health professionals or close persons about the future. Their concerns related to experiencing distressing symptoms or worrying how family members would cope. Some patients wished for more accurate information and were unaware of their options for care. Many felt it was doctors' responsibility to initiate such discussions, but perceived that their doctors were reluctant to do so. However, some patients felt that the time was not yet right for these conversations.
This article reports on the recorded content of ACP discussions. The extent to which patients want to engage in ACP is variable, and support and training are needed for health professionals to initiate such discussions. Our findings do not fully support the current United Kingdom policy of introducing ACP early in life-threatening disease.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.