Factors Influencing Advance Care Planning Among Older Adults in Two Socioeconomically Diverse Living Communities

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Abstract

Background/Objectives:

Advance care planning (ACP) is an iterative, complex, and dynamic process of discussion, decision-making, and documentation about end-of-life care. The extent to which this process takes place in older adults in diverse socioeconomic settings is not well documented. The aim of this study was to assess the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about ACP among older adults in two socioeconomically diverse settings to identify the individual and contextual factors that influence behaviors regarding end-of-life care.

Design:

A cross-sectional survey design was used.

Setting:

An affordable independent continuing care retirement community and a high-income eligible (HIE) independent continuing care retirement community.

Participants:

Individuals aged 55 years and older who resided in independent living.

Measurements:

A 61-item survey was administered. Simple descriptive statistics were used to examine the responses, and inferential statistics were used to evaluate which items were associated with key outcomes between the 2 settings.

Results:

Seventy-seven older adults completed the survey. Significant differences in familiarity of terminology and knowledge of ACP, as well as significant differences in completion of advance directives and communication, were found between the 2 communities. No differences were found in attitudes and beliefs about end-of-life issues.

Conclusion:

Higher levels of knowledge and engagement in ACP were reported at the HIE community as compared to the affordable housing community. These findings provide insight into the influence of the contextual forces that encourage and support ACP.

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