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J Cardiopulm Rehabil. 2001 Nov-Dec;21(6):387-91.

Effects of advance care education in cardiovascular rehabilitation programs: a prospective randomized study.

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Department of Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston 29425, USA.



To determine the effect of advance care education provided to patients enrolled in cardiovascular rehabilitation (CVR) programs and assess patients' acceptance of the educational program.


In a multicenter, prospective, randomized study, the authors administered two questionnaires 6 months apart to 284 patients enrolled in 14 CVR programs in 11 states. An educational group (99 subjects) participated in educational programs related to advance care planning and received advance directive forms after completing the first questionnaires; 185 subjects served as controls. Primary outcomes were completion of patient-physician discussions of end-of-life issues and patient confidence that their end-of-life wishes were understood by their physicians. Secondary outcomes were completion of formal advance directives and patient acceptance of the educational program.


Both the educational and control groups demonstrated a larger proportion of patients at the end of the study, compared with the amount at the beginning of the study, who had completed living wills, durable powers of attorney for healthcare, and discussions with their physicians about advance directives and life support care. These outcomes were not observed more commonly after the educational intervention. Neither groups gained confidence, however, that their physicians understood their end-of-life wishes. Only 8.6% of patients had a negative response to the educational program.


Advance care education is well received by patients enrolled in CVR programs. Enrollment in CVR promotes advance care planning to a small but measurable degree CVR rehabilitation programs appear to be acceptable sites for advance care planning but further research is needed to develop effective educational interventions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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