Efficacy of a Communication-Priming Intervention on Documented Goals-of-Care Discussions in Hospitalized Patients With Serious Illness: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Link to article at PubMed

JAMA Netw Open. 2022 Apr 1;5(4):e225088. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.5088.


IMPORTANCE: High-quality goals-of-care communication is critical to delivering goal-concordant, patient-centered care to hospitalized patients with chronic life-limiting illness. However, implementation and documentation of goals-of-care discussions remain important shortcomings in many health systems.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the efficacy, feasibility, and acceptability of a patient-facing and clinician-facing communication-priming intervention to promote goals-of-care communication for patients hospitalized with serious illness.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This randomized clinical trial enrolled patients from November 6, 2018, to February 18, 2020. The setting was 2 hospitals in an academic health care system in Seattle, Washington. Participants included hospitalized adults with chronic life-limiting illness, aged 65 years or older and with markers of frailty, or aged 80 years or older. Data analysis was performed from August 2020 to August 2021.

INTERVENTION: Patients were randomized to usual care with baseline questionnaires (control) vs the Jumpstart communication-priming intervention. Patients or surrogates in the intervention group and their clinicians received patient-specific Jumpstart Guides populated with data from questionnaires and the electronic health records (EHRs) that were designed to prompt and guide a goals-of-care discussion.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The primary outcome was EHR documentation of a goals-of-care discussion between randomization and hospital discharge. Additional outcomes included patient-reported or surrogate-reported goals-of-care discussions, patient-reported or surrogate-reported quality of communication, and intervention feasibility and acceptability.

RESULTS: Of 428 eligible patients, this study enrolled 150 patients (35% enrollment rate; mean [SD] age, 59.2 [13.6] years; 66 women [44%]; 132 [88%] by patient consent and 18 [12%] by surrogate consent). Seventy-five patients each were randomized to the intervention and control groups. Compared with the control group, the cumulative incidence of EHR-documented goals-of-care discussions between randomization and hospital discharge was higher in the intervention group (16 of 75 patients [21%] vs 6 of 75 patients [8%]; risk difference, 13% [95% CI, 2%-24%]; risk ratio, 2.67 [95% CI, 1.10-6.44]; P = .04). Patient-reported or surrogate-reported goals-of-care discussions did not differ significantly between groups (30 of 66 patients [45%] vs 36 of 66 patients [55%]), although the intrarater consistency of patient and surrogate reports was poor. Patient-rated or surrogate-rated quality of communication did not differ significantly between groups. The intervention was feasible and acceptable to patients, surrogates, and clinicians.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In this randomized clinical trial, a patient-facing and clinician-facing communication priming intervention for seriously ill, hospitalized patients promoted EHR-documented goals-of-care discussions before discharge with good feasibility and acceptability. Communication-priming interventions should be reexamined in a larger randomized clinical trial to better understand their effectiveness in the inpatient setting.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03746392.

PMID:35363271 | DOI:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.5088

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