A Practice Improvement Project to Increase Advance Care Planning in a Dementia Specialty Practice

Author Department

Geriatric Medicine; Medicine

Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date



This study was conducted to enhance the rate of advance care planning (ACP) conversations and documentation in a dementia specialty practice by increasing physician knowledge, attitudes, and skills. We used a pre- and postintervention paired design for physicians and 2 independent groups for patients. The ACP dementia educational program encompassed 3 objectives: (1) to understand the relevance of ACP to the dementia specialty practice, (2) to provide a framework to discuss ACP with patients and caregivers, and (3) to discuss ways to improve ACP documentation and billing in the electronic medical record. A 10-item survey was utilized pre- and posteducational intervention to assess knowledge, attitudes, and skill. The prevalence of ACP documentation was assessed through chart review 3 months pre- and postintervention. The educational intervention was associated with increased confidence in ability to discuss ACP ( P = .033), belief that ACP improves outcomes in dementia ( P = .035), knowledge about ACP Medicare billing codes and requirements ( P = .002), and belief that they have support from other personnel to implement ACP ( P = .017). In 2 independent groups of patients with dementia, documentation rates of an advance directive increased from 13.6% to 19.7% ( P = .045) and the Medical Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) increased from 11.0% to 19.0% ( P = .006). The MOLST documentation in 2 independent groups of patients with nondementia increased from 7.3% to 10.7% ( P = .046). Continuing efforts to initiate educational interventions are warranted to increase the effectiveness ACP documentation and future care of persons with dementia.