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Int J Palliat Nurs. 2007 Mar;13(3):109-15.

Knowledge, attitudes and practices of nursing personnel regarding advance directives.

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The University of Texas at Tyler, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, 3900 University Blvd, Texas, USA.


The aim of the study was to describe the knowledge, attitudes and practices of nursing personnel working in acute care settings regarding advance directives (ADs). The study was descriptive using a 40-item, newly developed tool (Update on Advance Directives questionnaire) distributed to 108 nursing personnel (mostly registered nurses) who were willing to complete the questionnaire. The findings were that nursing personnel reflected a lack of knowledge concerning federal and state laws and general information about ADs. Nursing personnel had very low rates of AD completion but most felt ADs were valuable for the patient. We concluded that nurses need more resources, e.g. knowledge, administrative and physician support, and communication tools to facilitate advance planning for end-of-life care for patients. The role of the health care provider, be it the nurse, physician or other, needs to be clarified regarding the most practical setting for AD formulation.

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