Research and Scholarship

Palliative Integration Into Ambulatory Oncology: An Advance Care Planning Quality Improvement Project

Amanda Hudson Lucas,(1) DNP, RN, ACNS-BC, ACHPN, and Amy Dimmer,(2) DNP, RN, ACCNS-AG

From (1)University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama, and Benefis Medical Group, Great Falls, Montana; (2)University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama

Authors’ disclosures of conflicts of interest are found at the end of this article.

Correspondence to: Amanda Hudson Lucas, DNP, RN, ACNS-BC, ACHPN, Benefis Medical Group Department of Palliative Medicine, 1101 26th Street South, Great Falls, MT 59405. E-mail: amandalucas@benefis.org


J Adv Pract Oncol 2021;12(4):376–386 | https://doi.org/10.6004/jadpro.2021.12.4.3 | © 2021 Harborside™


  

ABSTRACT

Advance care planning (ACP) is essential to ensuring that patient-centered end-of-life goals are respected if a health crisis occurs. Advanced practitioner barriers to ACP include insufficient time and limited confidence in discussions. The purpose of this quality improvement project was to increase advanced cancer patients’ electronic health record (EHR) documented surrogate decision maker and ACP documentation by 25% over 8 weeks. A secondary aim was to decrease patients’ decisional conflict scores (DCS) related to life-sustaining treatment preferences after a clinical nurse specialist (CNS)-led ACP session. Using the define, measure, analyze, improve, and control (DMAIC) process of quality improvement methodology, an interprofessional team led by a palliative CNS fostered practice change by (a) incorporating a patient self-administered Supportive Care and Communication Questionnaire (SCCQ) to standardize the ACP assessment, (b) creating an EHR nursing and provider documentation template, (c) offering advanced cancer patients a palliative CNS consultation for ACP review and advance directive completion, and (d) evaluating patients’ DCS through the four-item SURE tool. Of 126 participants provided with the SCCQ, 90 completed the document, resulting in a 71% return rate. Among the completed SCCQs, 37% (n = 33) requested a CNS consultation, with 76% (n = 25) returning for the ACP session. The CNS intervention yielded an average reduction of 1.4 points in SURE tool findings, a statistically significant decrease determined by a paired sample t-test. The project’s interprofessional collaboration promoted a system-wide standardized ACP process throughout ambulatory, acute, and post-hospital settings. 




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