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Bradshaw CL, Gale RC, Chettiar A, Ghaus SJ, Thomas IC, Fung E, Lorenz K, Asch SM, Anand S, Kurella Tamura M. Medical Record Documentation of Goals-of-Care Discussions Among Older Veterans With Incident Kidney Failure. American journal of kidney diseases : the official journal of the National Kidney Foundation. 2019 Oct 31.
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Abstract: RATIONALE and OBJECTIVE: Elicitation and documentation of patient preferences is at the core of shared decision making and is particularly important among patients with high anticipated mortality. The extent to which older patients with incident kidney failure undertake such discussions with their providers is unknown and its characterization was the focus of this study. STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. SETTING and PARTICIPANTS: A random sample of veterans 67 years and older with incident kidney failure receiving care from the US Veterans Health Administration between 2005 and 2010. EXPOSURES: Demographic and facility characteristics, as well as predicted 6-month mortality risk after dialysis initiation and documentation of resuscitation preferences. OUTCOMES: Documented discussions of dialysis treatment and supportive care. ANALYTICAL APPROACH: We reviewed medical records over the 2 years before incident kidney failure and up to 1 year afterward to ascertain the frequency and timing of documented discussions about dialysis treatment, supportive care, and resuscitation. Logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with these documented discussions. RESULTS: The cohort of 821 veterans had a mean age of 80.9±7.2 years, and 37.2% had a predicted 6-month mortality risk > 20% with dialysis. Documented discussions addressing dialysis treatment and resuscitation were present in 55.6% and 77.1% of patients, respectively. Those addressing supportive care were present in 32.4%. The frequency of documentation varied by mortality risk and whether the patient ultimately started dialysis. In adjusted analyses, the frequency and pattern of documentation were more strongly associated with geographic location and receipt of outpatient nephrology care than with patient demographic or clinical characteristics. LIMITATIONS: Documentation may not fully reflect the quality and content of discussions, and generalizability to nonveteran patients is limited. CONCLUSIONS: Among older veterans with incident kidney failure, discussions of dialysis treatment are decoupled from other aspects of advance care planning and are suboptimally documented, even among patients at high risk for mortality.

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