Published August 6, 2019
10 Ways Video Decision Aids Support the Care of Seriously Ill Populations
Patients with advanced illness must make important care decisions throughout their health care journeys. As they approach end of life, these decisions become even more significant as patients consider treatment options, palliative care, life-support measures, and hospice care.
Too often, an end-of-life care conversation is the elephant in the clinician’s exam room. Even though patients and their families facing life-limiting illness want their doctors to be up front with them about their prognosis and what their care choices are, clinicians tend to put off initiating advance care planning conversations. It’s not uncommon for these conversations to take place during a health crisis or emergency when it is more stressful for everyone involved and there are fewer options.
Having access to a comprehensive library of high-quality video-based decision aids supports the timely delivery of advance care planning to patient populations with advanced illness by:
- Improving the advance care planning process when they are easily accessible and incorporated into clinicians’ workflows.
- Expanding opportunities for shared decision making by helping to overcome common barriers for both clinicians and their patients.
- Enhancing patient-centered care with a variety of topics that can be individualized to each patient’s information needs.
- Fostering open discussions about all options for end-of-life care, including palliative care and hospice.
- Empowering patients by putting them in the driver’s seat to make informed decisions about care on their own terms, at their own pace, and based on what matters most to them.
- Educating patients and families about complex disease processes, care options, and life-support measures in a way that is easily understood.
- Giving peace of mind to everyone involved in the decision-making process. In the words of one care manager, as reported to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), “Having a conversation about end-of-life options allows everyone to breathe.”
- Communicating visually, which has been shown to be highly effective for educating patients about their health and engaging them in shared decision making.
- Helping clinicians respect patients’ choices with the assurance they are avoiding unwanted or aggressive care and delivering care that is aligned with their patients’ values
- Easing the transition from the treatment stage of a serious illness to end-of-life care by facilitating difficult end-of-life conversations.
Evidence shows that advance care planning initiatives aimed at high-risk, high-needs patients improve outcomes and patient experience while reducing health-related costs. They also boost population health and lead to safer care. Because of these findings, CMS is incentivizing advance care planning with new billing codes and a new payment model for the seriously ill population.
Most importantly, advance care planning enables patients and their families to make informed decisions about medical care at the end of life that is in line with their wishes and values. Video decision aids can make advanced illness care discussions easier and more effective if they are evidence-based and meet the health literacy needs of patients. When these conversations happen – ideally earlier in the patient journey – everyone benefits.
ACP Decisions is dedicated to empowering patients, families and health care providers in advance care planning. Our extensive library of evidence-based video decision aids includes education about care options for patients with advanced illness. If you’d like to learn more or sign up for our monthly newsletter, please contact us!