"Don't Talk to Them About Goals of Care": Understanding Disparities in Advance Care Planning.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: Structurally marginalized groups experience disproportionately low rates of advance care planning (ACP). To improve equitable patient-centered end-of-life care, we examine barriers and facilitators to ACP among clinicians as they are central participants in these discussions. METHOD: In this national study, we conducted semi-structured interviews with purposively selected clinicians from 6 diverse health systems between August 2018 and June 2019. Thematic analysis yielded themes characterizing clinicians' perceptions of barriers and facilitators to ACP among patients, and patient-centered ways of overcoming them. RESULTS: Among 74 participants, 49 (66.2%) were physicians, 16.2% were nurses, and 13.5% were social workers. Most worked in primary care (35.1%), geriatrics (21.1%), and palliative care (19.3%) settings. Clinicians most frequently expressed difficulty discussing ACP with certain racial and ethnic groups (African American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American) (31.1%), non-native English speakers (24.3%), and those with certain religious beliefs (Catholic, Orthodox Jewish, and Muslim) (13.5%). Clinicians were more likely to attribute barriers to ACP completion to patients (62.2%), than to clinicians (35.1%) or health systems (37.8%). Three themes characterized clinicians' difficulty approaching ACP (preconceived views of patients' preferences, narrow definitions of successful ACP, and lack of institutional resources), while the final theme illustrated facilitators to ACP (acknowledging bias and rejecting stereotypes, mission-driven focus on ACP, and acceptance of all preferences). CONCLUSIONS: Most clinicians avoided ACP with certain racial and ethnic groups, those with limited English fluency, and persons with certain religious beliefs. Our findings provide evidence to support development of clinician-level and institutional-level interventions and to reduce disparities in ACP.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Ashana, DC; D'Arcangelo, N; Gazarian, PK; Gupta, A; Perez, S; Reich, AJ; Tjia, J; Halpern, SD; Weissman, JS; Ladin, K

Published Date

  • February 3, 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 77 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 339 - 346

PubMed ID

  • 33780534

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8824574

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1758-535X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/gerona/glab091


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States