PURPOSE: Proper understanding and use of advance directives by health care professionals is crucial to carrying out the wishes of hospitalized patients near the end of life. The purpose of this study was to understand attitude, knowledge, and use of advance directive among ohio health care professionals.
METHODS: This self-administered survey was distributed to a convenience sample of health care professionals (nurses, attending physicians, resident physicians).
RESULTS: Among 304 respondents, 57% were nurses and 44% were physicians. Although a majority of respondents were knowledgeable about the Ohio Health Care Power of Attorney (79%), a minority (29%) responded correctly to a question regarding the Ohio Living Will. The Ohio DNRCC (Do-Not-Resuscitate-Comfort Care) protocol lists 5 procedures that may be performed, and 7 that should not. A majority of respondents (84%) correctly identified at least 10 of the 12 procedures. The most common misconception was that cardiac monitoring should be performed (49%). Most respondents knew the correct definitions of DNRCC (81%) and DNRCC-A (96%.) Only 25% indicated that they discuss advance directives with a majority (>51%) of their patients. There were no correlations between respondents’ years of experience, correct understanding, or having a personal advance directive and their frequency of advance directive use with patients.
CONCLUSION: Knowledge and attitudes regarding advance directives in Ohio vary significantly. Additional education of health care professionals may be warranted.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Improper understanding of the end of life terminology may affect the patient outcome. More educational programs are needed for health care professionals.
DISCLOSURE: Hesham El Gamal, None.