Barriers to Goals of Care Discussions With Patients Who Have Advanced Heart Failure: Results of a Multicenter Survey of Hospital-Based Cardiology Clinicians Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Conversations about goals of care in hospital are important to patients who have advanced heart failure (HF). METHODS: We conducted a multicenter survey of cardiology nurses, fellows, and cardiologists at 8 Canadian teaching hospitals. The primary outcome was the importance of barriers to goals-of-care discussions in hospital (1 = extremely unimportant; 7 = extremely important). We also elicited perspectives on roles of different practitioners in having these conversations. RESULTS: Questionnaires were returned by 770/1024 (75.2%) eligible clinicians. The most important perceived barriers were: family members' and patients' difficulty in accepting a poor prognosis (mean [SD] score 5.9 [1.1] and 5.7 [1.2], respectively), family members' and patients' lack of understanding about the limitations and harms of life-sustaining treatments (5.8 [1.1] and 5.7 [1.2], respectively), and lack of agreement among family members about goals of care (5.8 [1.2]). Interprofessional team members were viewed as having different but important roles in goals-of-care discussions. CONCLUSIONS: Cardiology clinicians perceive family and patient-related factors as the most important barriers to goals-of-care discussions in hospital. Many members of the interprofessional team were viewed as having important roles in addressing goals of care. These findings can inform the design of future interventions to improve communication about goals of care in advanced HF.


  • You, John Joon-young
  • Aleksova, Natasha
  • Ducharme, Anique
  • MacIver, Jane
  • Mielniczuk, Lisa
  • Fowler, Robert A
  • Demers, Catherine
  • Clarke, Brian
  • Parent, Marie-Claude
  • Toma, Mustafa
  • Strachan, Patricia H
  • Farand, Paul
  • Isaac, Debra
  • Zieroth, Shelley
  • Swinton, Marilyn
  • Jiang, Xuran
  • Day, Andrew G
  • Heyland, Daren K
  • Ross, Heather J

publication date

  • November 2017

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