Advance care planning (ACP) is a process of communication between patients, family caregivers and professionals about preferences for future care, including end-of-life care. Despite its relevance for people with dementia and their caregivers, given the increasing cognitive decline associated with the condition, the uptake of ACP in dementia is low. Research shows it is very unclear for physicians how to optimally communicate about ACP with people with dementia and their caregivers: physicians indicate to lack the necessary knowledge and skill.
Aim & Methods
The overall aim of my project is to develop an ACP communication in dementia skills training for physicians, to enable them to optimally discuss ACP with people with dementia and their caregivers. This aim will be addressed in two phases. First, I will perform in-depth qualitative analyses of experiences, preferences and of actual ACP practices, using innovative methods such as audio-based conversation analysis. Second, based on insights from phase 1 and on the input of a multidisciplinary stakeholder panel consensus-procedure, the training will be modelled and subsequently preliminary pilot-tested by physicians from various specialties. This work will lay the foundation for a much-needed training that strives to optimize the quality of ACP communication with people with dementia and their caregivers, and thus ultimately aims to improve the quality of the patients' end of life.