In 2010 researchers in Japan set out to explore the attitudes of physicians working in palliative care units on advance care planning by sending out a surveys to 203 physicians – they received completed replies from just under half of these.
They found that, although most of the physicians recognised the importance of advance care planning, many failed to implement aspects of patient-directed ACP that they acknowledged to be important – such as recommending completion of advance directives and designation of healthcare proxies.
The researchers concluded that the physicians’ general preference for family-centred decision making and their feelings of difficulty and low confidence regarding ACP most likely underlie these results. They also state that the discrepancy between physicians’ practices and their recognition of the importance of ACP suggests an opportunity to improve end of life care.
Palliative care physicians’ practices and attitudes regarding advance care planning in palliative care units in Japan by Kazuhiro Nakazawa et al was published online by American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine in October 2013.