American Heart Association's Quality and Outcomes Research Scientific Sessions
American Heart Association's Quality and Outcomes Research Scientific Sessions
June 24, 2014
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Providers reluctant to discuss end-of-life care with HF patients

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Only 12% of health care providers surveyed reported having annual discussions about end-of-life care with patients with HF and their families, according to data presented at the American Heart Association’s Quality of Care and Outcomes Scientific Sessions.

Shannon Dunlay, MD, MS, a cardiologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues studied results of an online survey with responses from 95 health care providers (50 physicians, 45 nurse practitioners/physician assistants) within the Mayo Clinic Health System.

According to results presented, clinicians reported that they discussed end-of-life care when the patients’ HF was worsening, but only 12% reported holding annual discussions as advocated by the AHA.

Among 52% of respondents who expressed hesitation in managing end-of-life care, reasons noted included perception of patient (21%), family unreadiness (12%), provider discomfort (11%), fear of destroying hope (9%) and lack of time (8%), according to a press release.

In addition, the respondents also expressed uncertainty about who should bring up end-of-life care with the patient and family members. Sixty-three percent of HF specialists and 58% of community cardiology clinicians responded that these discussions are the responsibility of HF cardiologists, whereas 66% of primary care providers responded that these discussions are their responsibility.

“Providers did express an interest in receiving additional training to develop the skills and confidence to talk about end-of-life care with their patients with HF,” Dunlay stated in the release.

For more information:

Dunlay S. Poster 022. Presented at: American Heart Association Quality of Care and Outcomes Research Scientific Sessions; June 2-4, 2014; Baltimore.

Disclosure: Dunlay reports no relevant financial disclosures.

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