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Preparing Older Veterans With Serious and Chronic Illness for Decision Making (PREPARE)

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT01550731
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : March 12, 2012
Results First Posted : July 18, 2019
Last Update Posted : July 18, 2019
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
VA Office of Research and Development

Brief Summary:
Millions of diverse Veterans live with severe and chronic illness for which they will face complex, ongoing decisions. Although the VHA has been at the forefront of patient-centered chronic care, interventions to prepare Veterans for complex decision-making over the course of chronic illness are lacking. This proposal addresses this gap by testing the efficacy of a novel preparation guide designed to prepare Veterans to communicate with their surrogates and to work with clinicians to make complex, ongoing decisions. The multi-media guide teaches communication and preparation skill behaviors (e.g., how to choose a surrogate and ask clinicians questions) in a culturally appropriate, easy-to-use format (targeted to a 5th grade reading level). This study aims to provide an impetus for changing the paradigm of advance care planning policies within the VA by moving beyond documentation of end-of-life wishes to the activation of Veterans to participate in ongoing communication of their values and goals - a process that is essential to fully realize patient-centered care.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Aging Behavioral: PREPARE website Behavioral: Advance directive Not Applicable

Detailed Description:
4.5 million Veterans are over age 65 and an increasing number are living with chronic and serious illness. Most older Veterans and their surrogate decision makers will eventually face complex, ongoing decisions over the course of chronic illness. These decisions are difficult, especially for the 50% of older Veterans with limited health literacy. The old paradigm of advance care planning has focused on making decisions about life- prolonging procedures (e.g., resuscitation) by completing advance directives. Yet, this old paradigm is problematic. The forms are difficult to understand and often culturally insensitive. They also fail to prepare patients with concrete skills, such as how to identify one's values and communicate with surrogates and clinicians. The investigators have published a new paradigm of advance care planning that focuses instead on preparing patients to communicate with their surrogates and to actively participate with clinicians in making the best possible in-the-moment decisions. The new paradigm seeks to ensure that complex, ongoing decisions are based on a comprehensive set of considerations including the current clinical context, evolving goals, and patients' and surrogates' needs. To do this effectively, Veterans need to prepare. However, an easy-to-use, culturally-appropriate preparation guide does not exist. The investigators have created an easy-to-understand (5th grade reading level) preparation guide based on the investigators' new paradigm called PREParation, Activation, Reflection, and Engagement in advance care planning or PREPARE. PREPARE is designed to teach Veterans preparation skills including how to choose a surrogate and discuss surrogate decision making, clarify personal values for specific health states, and ask clinicians questions to make informed choices. The aims of this study are: (1) to conduct a randomized control trial to determine the efficacy of PREPARE to engage older Veterans with chronic illness in preparation skill behaviors (i.e., did they choose a surrogate, clarify their values, ask clinicians questions); (2) to determine the efficacy of PREPARE to activate Veterans and clinicians within clinical encounters (i.e., did Veterans ask clinicians questions or discuss preparation topics and did clinicians respond) and to improve satisfaction with decision making; and (3) to obtain input from Veterans, surrogates, and clinicians about implementation of PREPARE within the VA. To achieve Aim 1, 205 Veterans will be randomly assigned to the intervention (PREPARE materials plus an advance directive) and 205 will be assigned to the control group (advance directive only). Veterans in the PREPARE arm will view the easy-to-understand, multi-media PREPARE website during the study interview and then take home PREPARE materials in photo booklet and pamphlet format to ensure universal access to the information. The primary outcome is Veteran-reported engagement in preparation skill behaviors at 3 and 6 months, which will be measured with standard cognitive behavioral measures. For Aim 2, activation within the clinical encounters will be measured with validated quantitative analysis techniques of audio-recordings. Satisfaction with decision making will be measured with validated, self-reported measures. For Aim 3, the investigators will ask Veterans randomized to the PREPARE arm and their surrogates and clinicians how best to implement PREPARE within the clinical setting. The investigators will use standard parametric or non-parametric statistical tests to assess group differences, will control for demographic or other variables that differ between randomization groups, and adjust for potential clustering by clinician. For Aims 1 and 2 the investigators will assess differences in engagement and satisfaction by race/ethnicity, literacy, and gender. The research team has extensive experience testing literacy-appropriate, multi-media health education materials in randomized trials. The study team is poised to test the efficacy of PREPARE, and findings from this study will pave the way for multi-site effectiveness testing and widespread VA dissemination of PREPARE.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 414 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Quadruple (Participant, Care Provider, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Health Services Research
Official Title: Preparing Older Veterans With Serious and Chronic Illness for Decision Making
Study Start Date : July 2012
Actual Primary Completion Date : July 2016
Actual Study Completion Date : July 2016

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: PREPARE
The intervention group will review the PREPARE advance care planning website and PREPARE materials plus receive an advance directive. The control group will only receive an advance directive.
Behavioral: PREPARE website
Advance care planning website and materials plus an advance directive.

Active Comparator: CONTROL
The control group will only receive an advance directive.
Behavioral: Advance directive
The control group will only receive an advance directive.

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. New Advance Care Planning Documentation in the Medical Record at 9 Months [ Time Frame: 9 months after study enrollment ]
    The primary outcome is documentation of advance care planning wishes in the medical record. ACP documentation for the purposes of this study includes the easy-to-read advance directive or other valid advance directives or living wills, a durable power of attorney for healthcare document (DPOAHC), a physicians orders for life sustaining treatment (POLST) form, or other documentation of patients wishes for medical care (ie, documentation of oral directives by a physician, or code status, such as full code or do not resuscitate or do not intubate orders or notes by a physician).

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Self-reported Engagement in Advance Care Planning (ACP) Behaviors [ Time Frame: 6 months ]
    Secondary outcome was chosen to measure the full process of Advance Care Planning (ACP) using validated questionnaires, such as the patient-reported ACP Engagement Survey. This questionnaire includes Behavior Change Process measures. Behavior Change Process measures include knowledge, contemplation, self-efficacy, and readiness for several ACP actions. The Process measures are assessed on an average 5-point Likert scale with a low of 1 and a high of 5, with high scores indicating more ACP engagement. The investigators used mixed effects models to create an overall adjusted score.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

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Ages Eligible for Study:   60 Years and older   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Veterans
  • 60 years of age
  • who have been seen in the General Medicine, Geriatrics, and Women's Clinics twice in the past year
  • and have 2 or more serious or chronic medical conditions as determined by ICD-9 codes

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Veterans will be excluded if they are:

    • deaf
    • blind
    • demented

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT01550731

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United States, California
San Francisco VA Medical Center, San Francisco, CA
San Francisco, California, United States, 94121
Sponsors and Collaborators
VA Office of Research and Development
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Principal Investigator: Rebecca Sudore, MD San Francisco VA Medical Center, San Francisco, CA
Publications of Results:

Publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number):
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Responsible Party: VA Office of Research and Development Identifier: NCT01550731    
Other Study ID Numbers: IIR 11-110
First Posted: March 12, 2012    Key Record Dates
Results First Posted: July 18, 2019
Last Update Posted: July 18, 2019
Last Verified: May 2019
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: No

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Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: No
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No
Keywords provided by VA Office of Research and Development:
advance care planning
health communication
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Chronic Disease
Disease Attributes
Pathologic Processes