Advance care planning for institutionalised older people: an integrative review of the literature

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Abstract

Background.

This integrative review of the literature describes the evolution in knowledge and the paradigm shift that is necessary to switch from advance directives to advance care planning.

Aims and objectives.

It presents an analysis of concepts, trends, models and experiments that enables identification of the best treatment strategies, particularly for older people living in nursing homes.

Design.

Based on 23 articles published between 1999 and 2012, this review distinguishes theoretical from empirical research and presents a classification of studies based on their methodological robustness (descriptive, qualitative, associative or experimental).

Results.

It thus provides nursing professionals with evidence-based information in the form of a synthetic vision and conceptual framework to support the development of innovative care practices in the end-of-life context. While theoretical work places particular emphasis on the impact of changes in practice on the quality of care received by residents, empirical research highlights the importance of communication between the different persons involved about care preferences at the end of life and the need for agreement between them.

Conclusions.

The concept of quality of life and the dimensions and factors that compose it form the basis of Advance care planning (ACP) and enable the identification of the similarities and differences between various actors. They inform professionals of the need to ease off the biomedical approach to consider the attributes prioritised by those concerned, whether patients or families, so as to improve the quality of care at the end of life.

Implications for practice.

It is particularly recommended that all professionals involved take into account key stakeholders' expectations concerning what is essential at the end of life, to enable enhanced communication and decision-making when faced with this difficult subject.

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