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Exploring expanded interdisciplinary roles in goals of care conversations in a national goals of care initiative: A qualitative approach.

Ma JE, Haverfield M, Lorenz KA, Bekelman DB, Brown-Johnson C, Lo N, Foglia MB, Lowery JS, Walling AM, Giannitrapani KF. Exploring expanded interdisciplinary roles in goals of care conversations in a national goals of care initiative: A qualitative approach. Palliative Medicine. 2021 Sep 1; 35(8):1542-1552.

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Abstract:

BACKGROUND: The United States Veterans Health Administration National Center for Ethics in Health Care implemented the Life-Sustaining Treatment Decisions Initiative throughout the Veterans Health Administration health care system in 2017. This policy encourages goals of care conversations, referring to conversations about patient's treatment and end-of-life wishes for life-sustaining treatments, among Veterans with serious illnesses. A key component of the initiative is expanding interdisciplinary provider roles in having goals of care conversations. AIM: Use organizational role theory to explore medical center experiences with expanding interdisciplinary roles in the implementation of a goals of care initiative. DESIGN: A qualitative thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews. SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Initial participants were recruited using purposive sampling of local medical center champions. Snowball sampling identified additional participants. Participants included thirty-one interdisciplinary providers from 12 geographically diverse initiative pilot and spread medical centers. RESULTS: Five themes were identified. Expanding provider roles in goals of care conversations (1) involves organizational culture change; (2) is influenced by medical center leadership; (3) is supported by provider role readiness; (4) benefits from cross-disciplinary role agreement; and (5) can "overwhelm" providers. CONCLUSIONS: Organizational role theory is a helpful framework for exploring interdisciplinary roles in a goals of care initiative. Support and recognition of provider role expansion in goals of care conversations was important for the adoption of a goals of care initiative. Actionable strategies, including multi-level leadership support and the use of interdisciplinary champions, facilitate role change and have potential to strengthen uptake of a goals of care initiative.





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