• Are we ready to think ahead? Acceptability study using an innovative end of life planning tool

      O’Shea, B; Martin, D; Brennan, B; Bailey, O; McElwee, O; O’Leary, F; Darker, C (Irish Medical Journal, 2014-05)
      This is a cross sectional study in 5 GP Training Practices, sample size 100 clinically stable patients, attending for routine care. Purpose of the study was explained and informed written consent was sought. Participants were provided with ’Think Ahead,’ an innovative end of life planning tool, devised by The Forum on The End of Life, based on best international practice, presented in a questionnaire format, detailing main decision centres relevant in end of life planning. Participants completed telephone surveys at 1 and 3 weeks, ascertaining their experience with ’Think Ahead;’ 92/100 completed both surveys. Results indicate high levels of acceptability and positive experience for most participants. A majority (63%) indicated ’no difficulty’ in completing ’Think Ahead;’ 74% indicated reported they did not find completing the folder to cause upset; 87% indicated they felt the folder should be more widely available, and 68% indicated they felt ’Think Ahead’ would be of general interest. The study was effective in encouraging discussion on end of life issues with family(83%) with 49% indicating they had done so in detail, and 34% indicating having ’done so somewhat,’ having read ’Think Ahead;’27% indicated aspects of it were upsetting. Results will be used to inform further development of the tool. General Practice consulting is a suitable context in which to systematically present ’Think Ahead.’