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A Comprehensive Approach to Eliciting, Documenting, and Honoring Patient Wishes for Care Near the End of Life: The Veterans Health Administration's Life-Sustaining Treatment Decisions Initiative



A Comprehensive Approach to Eliciting, Documenting, and Honoring Patient Wishes for Care Near the End of Life: The Veterans Health Administration's Life-Sustaining Treatment Decisions Initiative



Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety 45(1): 47-56



There is an emerging consensus that clinicians should initiate a proactive "goals of care conversation" (GoCC) with patients whose serious illness is likely to involve decisions about life-sustaining treatments (LSTs) such as artificial nutrition, ventilator support, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation. This conversation is intended to elicit the patient's values, goals, and preferences as a basis for shared decisions about treatment planning. LST decisions are often postponed until the patient is within days or even hours of death and no longer able to make his or her goals and preferences known. Decisions then fall to surrogates who may be uncertain about what the patient would have wanted. The Veterans Health Administration's Life-Sustaining Treatment Decisions Initiative (LSTDI) was designed to ensure that patients' goals, values, and preferences for LSTs are elicited, documented, and honored across the continuum of care. The LSTDI includes a coordinated set of evidence-based strategies that consists of enterprisewide practice standards for conducting, documenting, and supporting high-quality GoCCs; staff training to enhance proficiency in conducting, documenting, and supporting GoCCs; standardized, durable electronic health record tools for documenting GoCCs; monitoring and information technology tools to support implementation and improvement; a two-year multifacility demonstration project conducted to test and refine strategies and tools and to identify strong practices; and a program of study to evaluate the LSTDI and identify strategies critical to improving care for patients with serious illness. The LSTDI moves beyond traditional advance care planning by addressing well-documented barriers to goal-concordant care for seriously ill patients.

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Accession: 044214337

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 30126715

DOI: 10.1016/j.jcjq.2018.04.007


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