Differences in advance care planning among nursing home care staff

Nursing Ethics:096973302199418 (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Background A team-based approach has been advocated for advance care planning in nursing homes. While nurses are often put forward to take the lead, it is not clear to what extent other professions could be involved as well. Objectives To examine to what extent engagement in advance care planning practices, knowledge and self-efficacy differ between nurses, care assistants and allied care staff in nursing homes. Design Survey study. Participants/setting The study involved a purposive sample of 14 nursing homes in Flanders, Belgium. Nurses, care assistants and allied care staff completed a survey. Ethical considerations The study was approved by the University Hospital of Brussels, as part of a cluster randomized controlled trial. Results One hundred ninety-six nurses, 319 care assistants and 169 allied staff participated. After adjusting for confounders, nurses were significantly more likely than care assistants to have carried out advance care planning conversations and documented advance care planning ; differences not found between allied staff and care assistants. Advance care planning knowledge total scores differed significantly, with nurses ; 95% confidence interval 0.08–0.17; p < 0.001) and allied staff scoring higher than care assistants. We found no significant differences regarding self-efficacy. Discussion While nursing home nurses conducted more advance care planning conversations and documentation than allied care staff and care assistants, these two professional groups may be a valuable support to nurses in conducting advance care planning, if provided with additional training. Conclusions Allied care staff and care assistants, if trained appropriately, can be involved more strongly in advance care planning to enhance relational and individual autonomy of nursing home residents, alongside nurses. Future research to improve and implement advance care planning should consider this finding at the intervention development stage.

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