Association between knowledge and attitudes towards advance directives in emergency services
Pilar José-Maria de la Casa
Hospital emergency department
Emergency medical services
Medical philosophy. Medical ethics
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AbstractAbstract Background Implementing the routine consultation of patient advance directives in hospital emergency departments and emergency medical services has become essential, given that advance directives constitute the frame of reference for care personalisation and respect for patients’ values and preferences related to healthcare. The aim of this study was to assess the levels and relationship of knowledge and attitudes of nursing and medical professionals towards advance directives in hospital emergency departments and emergency medical services, and to determine the correlated and predictor variables of favourable attitudes towards advance directives. Methods Observational, descriptive, and cross-sectional study. The study was conducted in the emergency department of a second-level hospital and in the emergency medical service. Data collection was performed from January 2019 to February 2020. The STROBE guidelines were followed for the preparation of the study. Results A total of 173 healthcare professionals responded to the questionnaire. Among them, 91.3% considered that they were not sufficiently informed about advance directives, and 74% acknowledged not having incorporated them into their usual practice. Multinomial analysis indicated a statistically significant relationship between the variable emergency medical service and having more favourable attitudes towards consulting the advance directives in their practical application (OR 2.49 [95% CI 1.06–5.88]; p = 0.037) and compliance in complex scenarios (OR 3.65 [95% CI 1.58 − 8.41]; p = 0.002). Working the afternoon and night shift was a predictor variable for obtaining a higher score with respect to attitudes in complex scenarios. Conclusion There is an association between the level of knowledge that nursing and medical professionals have about advance directives and the scores obtained on the attitude scales at the time of practical implementation and in complex scenarios. This shows that the more knowledge professionals have, the more likely they are to consult patients' advance directives and to respect their wishes and preferences for care and/or treatment.