Improving Communication About Serious Illness
Critical Illness - Chronic Disease - Terminal Care - Palliative Care - Communication - Advance Care Planning - Neoplasm Metastasis - Lung Neoplasms - Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive - Heart Failure - End Stage Liver Disease - Kidney Failure, Chronic
Conditions: official terms
Chronic Disease - Critical Illness - End Stage Liver Disease - Kidney Failure, Chronic - Liver Diseases - Lung Neoplasms - Neoplasm Metastasis - Neoplasms - Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive - Renal Insufficiency
Conditions: Keywords
Palliative Care, End-of-Life Issues, Patient/Clinician Communication, Patient/Family Communication, Concordance, Treatment Preferences, Anxiety, Depressive Symptoms, Talking with Your Doctor, Coping with Serious Illness, Outpatient Collaboration
Study Type
Study Phase
Study Design
Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Supportive Care
Name: Communication Feedback Form for Patients with Serious Illness
Type: Behavioral
Overall Status
The purpose of this study is to improve care delivered to patients with serious illness by enhancing communication among patients, families, and clinicians in the outpatient setting. We are testing a new way to help patients share their preferences for talking about end-of-life care with their clinicians and families. To do this we created a simple, short feedback form. The form is designed to help clinicians understand what patients would like to talk about. The goal of this research study is to show that using a feedback form is possible and can be helpful for patients and their families.
Detailed Description
Four decades of research on end-of-life care indicate that people who are dying often spend their final days with a significant burden of pain and other symptoms and receive care they would not choose. Patient-clinician communication about end-of-life care is an important focus for improving care for three reasons: 1) when it occurs, it is associated with improved quality of life, reduced anxiety, and fewer intensive life-sustaining therapies at the end of life; 2) physicians frequently do not have discussions about end-of-life care with their patients even though most patients desire these discussions; and 3) our preliminary studies suggest that a simple intervention based on each patient's informational needs and preferences can increase the occurrence and quality of patient-clinician communication about end-of-life care. By tailoring patient-clinician discussions to the individual patient, patients will be able to make care decisions that are best for them and clinicians will be able to provide patients with the care patients' desire.

Our long-term goal is to ensure that patients receive the end-of-life care they desire through improved patient-clinician communication. If effective, this health-system intervention will improve: 1) the occurrence and quality of patient-centered communication about end-of-life care for patients with chronic life-limiting illness and their families; 2) the agreement between patients' wishes for care and care received; and 3) the burden of symptoms of anxiety and depression experienced by patients and families.

We propose a randomized trial of a "feedback form" provided to patients, family members and clinicians, specifying the individual patient's communication needs and preferences concerning end-of- life care. The trial will be tested with clinicians (n=120) who provide primary or specialty care to eligible patients at clinics of a large healthcare system. Eligible patients (6 per clinician, n=720) will include those with chronic, life-limiting illness. Family members of patients and interdisciplinary team members of primary clinicians may participate. Primary clinicians will be randomized to the intervention or usual care. The intervention's effectiveness will be compared with usual care using validated self-report questionnaires that will be collected longitudinally (baseline/enrollment, 2 weeks following the target visit, 3 months, 6 months) from patients and families. Analyses include statistical approaches that take into account that there will be more than one patient for each physician and that data are collected at multiple time points.

Outcomes of this study include patient assessments of: 1) frequency and quality of patient/clinician communication; 2) agreement between care patients desire and care patients receive; and 3) symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Criteria for eligibility
Healthy Volunteers: No
Maximum Age: N/A
Minimum Age: 18 Years
Gender: Both
Criteria: Inclusion Criteria:

- Eligible primary clinicians will include all clinicians who provide ongoing primary or specialty care to eligible patient populations. This will include primary care physicians (family medicine and internal medicine), oncologists, pulmonologists, cardiologists, gastroenterologists, nephrologists, neurologists, hepatologists, and geriatricians. Primary clinicians may also include nurse practitioners and physician assistants playing a "primary role" with eligible patients. A "primary role" denotes any clinician for whom having a discussion about end-of-life care with eligible patients would be indicated

- Eligible interprofessional team members will include nurses, social workers and other clinicians who are part of an enrolled primary clinician's clinic team.

- Eligible patients will be those under the care of a participating clinician who are 18 years of age or older, have had more than 3 visits with the primary clinician in the last 18 months, and meet diagnostic criteria. Diagnostic criteria include: 1) metastatic cancer or inoperable lung cancer; 2) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with FEV1 values <35% predicted or oxygen dependence or restrictive lung disease with a TLC < 50% predicted; 3) New York Heart Association Class III or IV heart failure; 4) Child's Class C cirrhosis or MELD score of >17; 5) dialysis-dependent renal failure and either diabetes or a serum albumin of < 2.5; or, 6) older than 75 years with at least one life-limiting chronic illness. Additional criteria include: PAH w. 6MWD <250m, restrictive lung disease (IPF, ILD) w/ TLC <50%, and cystic fibrosis with FEV1 < 30%. Eligible patients will also be English-speaking and have no significant dementia or cognitive impairment that would limit his/her ability to complete questionnaires.

- Eligible family members will be identified by the patient, with the criterion that the patient would want the family member involved in medical decision-making for the patient if he/she was not able. For the purpose of this study, "family member" is not confined to legal next-of-kin or immediate family member. Any family member, friend, or caregiver is eligible who is English-speaking and has no dementia or delirium limiting his/her ability to complete questionnaires.

Exclusion Criteria:

- Reasons for exclusion for all subject groups include: legal or risk management concerns; and physical or mental limitations preventing ability to complete research activities.
Valley Medical Center
Renton, Washington, United States
Status: Recruiting
Harborview Medical Center
Seattle, Washington, United States
Status: Recruiting
Northwest Hospital and Medical Center
Seattle, Washington, United States
Status: Recruiting
Swedish Medical Center
Seattle, Washington, United States
Status: Recruiting
University of Washington Medical Center
Seattle, Washington, United States
Status: Recruiting
UW Neighborhood Clinics
Seattle, Washington, United States
Status: Recruiting
Start Date
September 2013
Completion Date
July 2016
University of Washington
University of Washington
Record processing date processed this data on July 28, 2015 page