Advance care planning is nothing new in the long-term care industry.  In fact, it has gotten lots of attention for years, with multiple academic studies, researchers, and focus groups looking to find more effective ways to introduce and carry out this important planning process.

This is why a team at Indiana University has taken it upon themselves to develop a study that will give skilled nursing facilities important information about how advanced care planning can have an extreme impact on resident satisfaction, reduced rehospitalization, and even prevent unwanted medical procedures.

Aside from the fact that the social services department is tasked with coordinating the IDT’s efforts, the University’s primary concern is that most long-term care facilities have no “one” person in charge of the advance care planning.  The study hopes to emphasize the importance of assigning an individual to oversee this planning process, and as part of their pilot program, will show how carefully setting specific goals and expectations for each resident’s long-term care will set a growing trend.

The Indiana University study will include 200 skilled nursing facilities, where 100 will receive the advance care planning training, and 100 will not.  They will then review and analyze billing, records, and satisfaction, and the impact of this intervention.  They will also reserve a special focus on residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

There still is a lot of confusion around advance care planning, and while more knowledge and expertise is emerging every year, they want to work collaboratively with these facilities to develop a more realistic and practical approach.  Developing planning strategies, training programs, and materials to help implement advance care planning is something that will benefit everyone, especially the resident.

Advance care planning is the wave of the future, and it is time that it is taken seriously.  Indiana University is dedicated to not only conducting the research, but implementing protocols that will be there when the research is done!

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