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Med Intensiva. 2016 Apr;40(3):154-62. doi: 10.1016/j.medin.2015.04.011. Epub 2015 Jun 10.

Advance directives in intensive care: Health professional competences.

[Article in English, Spanish]

Author information

1
Servicio de Medicina Intensiva, Hospital Clínico San Carlos , Madrid, España; Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, España. Electronic address: tavela01@ucm.es.
2
Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, España.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To identify knowledge, skills and attitudes among physicians and nurses of adults' intensive care units (ICUs), referred to advance directives or living wills.

DESIGN:

A cross-sectional descriptive study was carried out.

SETTING:

Nine hospitals in the Community of Madrid (Spain).

PARTICIPANTS:

Physicians and nurses of adults' intensive care.

INTERVENTIONS:

A qualitative Likert-type scale and multiple response survey were made.

VARIABLES:

Knowledge, skills and attitudes about the advance directives. A descriptive statistical analysis based on percentages was made, with application of the chi-squared test for comparisons, accepting p < 0.05 as representing statistical significance.

RESULTS:

A total of 331 surveys were collected (51%). It was seen that 90.3% did not know all the measures envisaged by the advance directives. In turn, 50.2% claimed that the living wills are not respected, and 82.8% believed advance directives to be a useful tool for health professionals in the decision making process. A total of 85.3% the physicians stated that they would respect a living will, in cases of emergencies, compared to 66.2% of the nursing staff (p = 0.007). Lastly, only 19.1% of the physicians and 2.3% of the nursing staff knew whether their patients had advance directives (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS:

Although health professionals displayed poor knowledge of advance directives, they had a favorable attitude toward their usefulness. However, most did not know whether their patients had a living will, and some professionals even failed to respect such instructions despite knowledge of the existence of advance directives. Improvements in health professional education in this field are needed.

KEYWORDS:

Advance directives; Cuidados al final de la vida; Cuidados intensivos; End of life care; Instrucciones previas; Intensive care; Living wills; Testamento vital; Voluntades anticipadas

PMID:
26072095
DOI:
10.1016/j.medin.2015.04.011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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