To develop and validate a values clarification tool, the Short Graphic Values History Tool (GVHT), designed to support person-centred decision making during serious illness.
The development phase included input from experts and laypersons and assessed acceptability with patients/family members. In the validation phase, we recruited additional participants into a before–after study. Our primary validation hypothesis was that the tool would reduce scores on the Decisional Conflict Scale (DCS) at 1–2 weeks of follow-up. Our secondary validation hypotheses were that the tool would improve values clarity (reduce scores) more than other DCS subscales and increase engagement in advance care planning (ACP) processes related to identification and discussion of one’s values.
In the development phase, the tool received positive overall ratings from 22 patients/family members in hospital (mean score 4.3; 1=very poor; 5=very good) and family practice (mean score 4.5) settings. In the validation phase, we enrolled 157 patients (mean age 71.8 years) from family practice, cancer clinic and hospital settings. After tool completion, decisional conflict decreased (−6.7 points, 95% CI −11.1 to −2.3, p=0.003; 0–100 scale; N=100), with the most improvement seen in the values clarity subscale (−10.0 points, 95% CI −17.3 to −2.7, p=0.008; N=100), and the ACP-Values process score increased (+0.4 points, 95% CI 0.2 to 0.6, p=0.001; 1–5 scale; N=61).
The Short GVHT is acceptable to end users and has some measure of validity. Further study to evaluate its impact on decision making during serious illness is warranted.