Effect of “Speak Up” educational tools to engage patients in advance care planning in outpatient healthcare settings: A prospective before-after study Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Tools for advance care planning (ACP) are advocated to help ensure patient values guide healthcare decisions. Evaluation of the effect of tools introduced to patients in clinical settings is needed. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of the Canadian Speak Up Campaign tools on engagement in advance care planning (ACP), with patients attending outpatient clinics. Patient involvement: Patients were not involved in the problem definition or solution selection in this study but members of the public were involved in development of tools. The measurement of impacts involved patients. METHODS: This was a prospective pre-post study in 15 primary care and two outpatient cancer clinics. The outcome was scores on an Advance Care Planning Engagement Survey measuring Behavior Change Process on 5-point scales and Actions (0-21-point scale) administered before and six weeks after using a tool, with reminders at two or four weeks. RESULTS: 177 of 220 patients (81%) completed the study (mean 68 years of age, 16% had cancer). Mean Behavior Change Process scores were 2.9 at baseline and 3.5 at follow-up (mean change 0.6, 95% confidence interval 0.5 to 0.7; large effect size of 0.8). Mean Action Measure score was 3.7 at baseline and 4.8 at follow-up (mean change 1.1, 95% confidence interval 0.6-1.5; small effect size of 0.2). PRACTICAL VALUE: Publicly available ACP tools may have utility in clinical settings to initiate ACP among patients. More time and motivation may be required to stimulate changes in patient behaviors related to ACP.


  • Howard, Michelle
  • Robinson, Carole A
  • McKenzie, Michael
  • Fyles, Gillian
  • Hanvey, Louise
  • Barwich, Doris
  • Bernard, Carrie
  • Elston, Dawn
  • Tan, Amy
  • Yeung, Lorenz
  • Heyland, Daren K

publication date

  • April 2021