The Effects of Providing Chronic Hemodialysis Patients Written Material on Advance Directives

Jean L. Holley, Sheryl Nespor, Raymond Rault

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Because little is known about the stability of knowledge, attitudes, and behavior toward advance directives in chronic hemodialysis patients, we chose to determine whether providing written information on advance directives affects chronic hemodialysis patients' knowledge, attitudes, and behavior toward advance directives over time. Various patient demographic factors were also assessed for association with the above parameters. Thirty-one chronic incenter hemodialysis patients (55% women, 48% African-Americans, 81% on dialysis for more than 3 years) completed a questionnaire consisting of patient demographic features and agreement or disagreement with statements concerning knowledge, attitudes, and behavior toward advance directives. The responses were scored from 1 (strongly agree) to 5 (strongly disagree). Patients completed the questionnaire before, shortly after (1 to 3 months), and distant to (6 to 7 months) receiving written information on advance directives. Receiving written information on advance directives did not improve patients' understanding of living wills (58% understood before, 77% shortly after, and 58% distant to receiving the information) and only transiently improved understanding of a health care proxy (32% before, 67% shortly after [P < 0.006], 55% distant [P = not significant]) and the hospital policy on advance directives (35% before, 61 shortly after [P < 0.02], 48% distant [P = not significant]). Patients' attitudes about advance directives and perceived barriers to their use were not different before, shortly after, or distant to receiving information. After receiving information on advance directives, more patients (13% before, 48% shortly after, 37% distant; P < 0.002) and their family members (10% before, 30% shortly after, 20% distant; P < 0.02) completed advance directives. We conclude that providing patients with written information on advance directives does not alter attitudes and only transiently improves perceived understanding of these issues. Patient behavior toward advance directives, however, is influenced by written information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-418
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Volume22
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Advance directives
  • ethics
  • health care proxies
  • hemodialysis
  • living wills

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology

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