The primary intent of Advance Health Care Planning (AHCP) and Advance Health Care Directives (AHCDs) is promotion of autonomy by encouraging individuals to participate in health care decision-making in the event of a terminal illness or injury. In spite of this intent, there is a general reluctance to discuss mortality and plan for the end-of-life events as evidenced by the low percentage of individuals who have completed AHCDs. This lack of planning has resulted in much unwanted, futile, and/or expensive health care, and has been declared an imperative public health concern.
To address the low percentage of completion, a faith community nurse-facilitated educational session, using the Caring Conversations© workbook, was developed as a pilot project and offered to parishioners in a Christian environment. The session provided education regarding AHCP/AHCDs to congregational and community members by an experienced volunteer faith community nurse. Multiple modes including a PowerPoint presentation, question and answer sessions, and role play were used to demonstrate how to talk to family members about their wishes.
A pre-test/post-test design was utilized to evaluate if the educational session would increase the knowledge of community members about AHCP/AHCDs and results indicated that this was indeed the case.