Advance care planning is a crucial aspect of end-of-life care, enabling patients, families, and providers to make informed decisions about treatment preferences, goals of care, and end-of-life options. If a team succeeds in increasing advance care planning completion percentages across patient populations, patients will receive better end-of-life care, providers will deliver higher quality end-of-life care, families will have a more positive end-of-life experience, and cost savings are achievable for the hospitals and payers. All this is possible because of the care alignment that solidifies around conversation and documentation.
Firstly, increasing advance care planning completion percentages across patient populations allows patients to have better end-of-life care. Patients who have completed an advance care plan are more likely to receive care that aligns with their values and preferences, and to avoid unwanted or unnecessary interventions at the end of life. By discussing and documenting their preferences with their healthcare providers and families, patients can ensure that their wishes are known and respected. This can lead to more peaceful and dignified end-of-life experiences for patients, as well as improved quality of life in the time leading up to death.
Secondly, increasing advance care planning completion percentages can also allow providers to deliver better end-of-life care. When providers have a clear understanding of their patients' wishes, they can tailor care plans to meet those wishes, resulting in more personalized care. Advance care planning can also help providers avoid situations where aggressive treatments may be ineffective or harmful, and instead focus on providing palliative care and symptom management. This can lead to better outcomes for patients, including decreased pain and suffering, improved quality of life, and a more peaceful death.
Thirdly, increasing advance care planning completion percentages can benefit families by providing them with a more positive end-of-life experience. When families are aware of their loved one's wishes, they are better able to support them and make decisions on their behalf. This can help alleviate stress and uncertainty for families and ensure that their loved one's wishes are being respected. Advance care planning can also help families avoid conflicts or disagreements about end-of-life care, which can be emotionally taxing and disruptive.
Finally, increasing advance care planning completion percentages can save costs for hospitals and payers. When patients receive care that aligns with their wishes and preferences, they are less likely to undergo unnecessary or unwanted interventions, which can be costly. By providing palliative care and symptom management, providers can reduce the need for hospitalizations and emergency room visits, resulting in lower healthcare costs. Advance care planning can also help reduce the use of expensive treatments and procedures that may not be effective, resulting in cost savings for both hospitals and payers.
Increasing advance care planning completion percentages across patient populations can benefit patients, providers, families, and payers. By promoting advance care planning as an integral part of healthcare, patients can receive care that aligns with their values and preferences, providers can deliver higher quality, personalized care, families can have a more positive end-of-life experience, and hospitals and payers can save costs. It is important for healthcare providers, payers, and policymakers to continue to prioritize and promote advance care planning as a crucial aspect of end-of-life care.