Advance care planning (ACP) documentation needs to be available at the point of care to guide and inform medical treatment decision-making.
To examine concordance between self-reported completion of ACP documentation and self-reported storage of the documentation at the person's current point of care with the availability of the documentation in that person's health record.
A national multicenter audit of health records and a self-report survey of eligible audit participants in 51 Australian health and residential aged care services. The audit assessed availability of ACP documentation in the health record, whereas the survey assessed self-reported completion and storage of the ACP documentation at the person's current place of care. To ascertain concordance, survey and audit data were cross-tabulated and concordance rates and kappa statistics were calculated overall and by health care sector and ACP documentation type.
The audit included 2285 people, of whom 1082 were eligible for the survey. Of 507 who completed the survey (response rate = 47%), 272 (54%) reported completing ACP documentation, of whom 130 (48%) had documentation identified in the audit. Conversely, 39 of 235 people (17%) who reported not completing ACP documentation had documentation identified (concordance rate = 64%; κ = 0.303, P < .001). The concordance rate increased to 79% when self-reported storage of ACP documentation at the person's current point of care was compared with the existence of the document in their health record (κ = 0.510, P < .001). Concordance varied by health care setting and type of ACP documentation.
Discrepancies exist between self-reported completion of ACP documentation and the presence of these documents in the health records of older adults, representing a significant patient safety issue. Public education campaigns and improvements to systems for document storage and accessibility are required to support person-centered medical and end-of-life care.