Individuals with COPD typically experience a gradual deterioration in health, with exacerbations and increased health-care utilization in the years before death. As such, adequate planning of future care is necessary. The objective of this research was to identify gaps in health-care professionals' knowledge related to advance care planning (ACP) for patients with COPD and to prioritize content of future educational interventions for health-care professionals accordingly.
A modified e-Delphi technique with 2 rounds of rating was used. After a literature review and expert consultation, a multidisciplinary panel developed 40 statements. Statements that did not achieve consensus in round 1 were re-presented in round 2, together with new statements developed after participant feedback. Health-care professionals with expertise in caring for people with COPD were asked to rate the importance of including each of the 40 topics in future educational interventions related to ACP and COPD by using a 5-point Likert scale. Average scores for each topic were calculated and expressed as percentages. Consensus on each topic was achieved if it obtained a score of =80%.
Thirty-eight health-care professionals were invited to participate, of whom, 21 (55%) took part in both rounds. Consensus was achieved for 32 of 40 statements (80%) in round 1 and for 5 of 10 statements (50%) in round 2. All statements relating to "COPD and palliative care" and "legislation for ACP" achieved consensus after one round.
This study uncovered specific topics that related to ACP and COPD that health-care professionals believe should be included in future educational interventions. In particular, there is a clear need for training that addresses the legal issues surrounding ACP, and information on the best timing and content of ACP discussions with patients with COPD. Such training may enable health-care professionals to incorporate ACP into routine COPD management and, ultimately, improve patient care.