As part of an intervention to improve health care in nursing homes with the goal of reducing potentially avoidable hospital admissions, 1,877 resident records were reviewed for advance directive (AD) documentation. At the initial phases of the intervention, 50 percent of the records contained an AD. Of the ADs in the resident records, 55 percent designated a durable power of attorney for health care, most often a child (62 percent), other relative (14 percent), or spouse (13 percent). Financial power of attorney documents were sometimes found within the AD, even though these documents focused on financial decision making rather than health care decision making. Code status was the most prevalent health preference documented in the record at 97 percent of the records reviewed. The intervention used these initial findings and the philosophical framework of respect for autonomy to develop education programs and services on advance care planning. The role of the social worker within an interdisciplinary team is discussed.
Galambos, C., Starr, J., Rantz, M., & Petroski, G. (2016). Analysis of advance directive documentation to support palliative care activities in nursing homes. Health & Social Work, 41(4), 228-234.View the PDF