Concordance of Advance Care Plans With Inpatient Directives in the Electronic Medical Record for Older Patients Admitted From the Emergency Department

and the AAHPM Research Committee Writing Group, AAHPM Research Committee Writing Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Context Measuring What Matters identified quality indicators to examine the percentage of patients with documentation of a surrogate decision maker and preferences for life-sustaining treatments. Objectives To determine the rate of advance care planning in older adults presenting to the emergency department (ED) and translation into medical directives in the electronic medical record (EMR). Methods A convenience sample of adults 65 years or older was recruited from a large urban ED beginning in January 2012. We administered a baseline interview and survey in English or Spanish, including questions about whether patients had a documented health care proxy or living will. For patients admitted to the hospital who had a health care proxy or living will, chart abstraction was performed to determine whether their advance care preferences were documented in the EMR. Results From February 2012 to May 2013, 53.8% (367 of 682) of older adults who completed the survey in the ED reported having a health care proxy, and 40.2% (274 of 682) had a living will. Of those admitted to the hospital, only 4% (4 of 94) of patients who said they had a living will had medical directives documented in the EMR. Similarly, only 4% (5 of 115) of patients who had a health care proxy had the person's name or contact information documented in their medical record. Conclusion About half of the patients 65 years or older arriving in the ED have done significant advance care planning, but most plans are not recorded in the EMR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)647-651
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016



  • Quality improvement
  • advance care planning
  • emergency medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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