A Mixed Methods Analysis of Standardized Documentation of Serious Illness Conversations Within an Electronic Health Record Module During Hospitalization

Myrna Katalina Serna, Catherine Yoon, Julie Fiskio, Joshua R. Lakin, Jeffrey L. Schnipper, Anuj K. Dalal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Analysis of documented Serious Illness Conversations (SICs) in the inpatient setting can help clinicians align management to address patient and caregiver needs. Methods: We conducted a mixed methods analysis of the first instance of standardized documentation of a SIC within a structured module among hospitalized general medicine patients from 2018 to 2019. Percentage of documentations that included a description of patient or family understanding of the patient’s medical condition and use of radio buttons to answer the “prognostic information shared,” “hopes,” and “worries” modules are reported. Using grounded theory approach, physicians analyzed free text entries to: “What is important to the patient/family?” and “Recommendations or next steps planned.” Results: Out of 5142 patients, 59 patients had a documented SIC. Patient or family understanding of the medical condition(s) was reported in 56 (95%). For “prognostic information shared,” the most frequently selected radio buttons were: 49 (83%) incurable disease and 28 (48%) prognosis of weeks to months while those for “hopes” were: 52 (88%) be comfortable and 27 (46%) be at home and for “worries” were: 49 (83%) other physical suffering and 36 (61%) pain. Themes generated from entries to “What’s important to patient/family?” included being with loved ones; comfort; mentally and physically present; and reliable care while those for “Recommendations” were coordinating support services; symptom management; and support and communication. Conclusions: SIC content indicated concern about pain and reliable care suggesting the complex, intensive nature of caring for seriously ill patients and the need to consider SICs earlier in the life course of patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • caregiving
  • end-of-life care
  • hospice
  • inpatient
  • palliative care
  • serious illness conversation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine

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