How Advance Care Planning Improves Patient Experience

August 18, 2022
L. Scott Brown, president and CEO, ADVault

L. Scott Brown, president and CEO, ADVault

Death and dying is a reality we are all going to face. So it is remarkable that end-of-life care isn’t as freely spoken about between providers and patients as it should be.

This highlights an often overlooked communication challenge in the health care industry: How do you integrate end-of-life care into the patient experience in a way that both builds trust and respects patient wishes?

Health care gets a lot of things right, and a hospital is an amazing place filled with good-hearted heroes doing heroic things every day. But, in a new article, contributor L. Scott Brown argues, “There’s one thing hospitals have not done well. If they want to embody the complete patient experience or claim to address the full health care continuum, they cannot be derelict in one particular duty. I am talking about end-of-life (EOL) care and the importance of advance care planning (ACP).

“For some, such discussions are simply too difficult or uncomfortable to have. For others, despite the illness, age, or medical truth of a patient’s condition, addressing the reality of death and dying has wrongfully been considered a medical failure of sorts.

“Because of this, we almost always turn to providing more care at the end of life and often keep patients alive through extraordinary means — including sometimes heroic measures — even though we know the outcome won’t change. Not only is a lot of money spent in this atmosphere, but often this “care” is not even what patients want as they weigh years of life vs. quality of life.

“Hospitals — and the doctors, nurses, case managers, and others who practice and work there — have a unique opportunity to change this paradigm and dramatically impact the health care ecosystem by being proactive in having EOL discussions not only with their patients but with the community at large.”

By doing so, health care organizations can position themselves as community leaders in respecting the wishes of patients and building trusted relationships with them.

To learn what steps you can take to get ahead of advance care planning and improve end-of-life care, read our newest article: Patient Experience Extends to End-of-Life Experience: How Health Systems Can Take the Lead and Empower Patients to Have It Their Way.

Best regards,
Matt Humphrey