Background Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) is associated with significant morbidity and mortality, making advance care planning (ACP) and management especially important in this patient population. A paucity of data exists on the utilization of ACP amongst allogeneic HCT recipients, and the relationship between ACP and intensity of health care utilization in these patients. Methods We performed a retrospective review of patients receiving allogeneic HCT at our institution from 2008 to 2015 who had subsequently died following HCT. Documentation and timing of advance directive (AD) completion were abstracted from the electronic medical record. Outcomes of interest included (a) utilization of intensive care unit level of care (ICU) at (i) any time point following HCT, (ii) within 30 days of death, (iii) within 14 days of death, (b) use of mechanical ventilation at any time point following HCT, and (c) location of death. Univariate logistic regression was performed to explore associations between AD completion and each outcome. Results Of the 1031 patients who received allogeneic HCT during the study period, there were 422 (41%) decedents who are included in the analysis. Forty-four percent had AD documentation prior to death. A majority of patients (69%) indicated that if terminally ill, they did not wish to be subjected to life-prolonging treatment attempts. Race/ethnicity was significantly associated with AD documentation, with Non-Hispanic White patients documenting ADs more frequently (51%) compared to Hispanic (22%) or Asian patients (35%); p= 0.0007. Patients with AD were less likely to utilize the ICU during the transplant course (41% for patients with AD versus 52% of patients without AD; p= 0.03) and also were less likely to receive mechanical ventilation at any point following transplantation (21% versus 37%; p<0.001). AD documentation was also associated with decreased ICU utilization at the end-of-life; relative to patients without AD, patients with AD were more likely to die at home or in hospital as opposed to in the ICU (OR 0.44, 95% CI 0.27-0.72).ACP remains underutilized in allogeneic HCT. Adoption of a systematic practice to standardize AD documentation as part of allogeneic HCT planning has the potential to significantly reduce ICU utilization and mechanical ventilation while improving quality of care at end-of-life in HCT recipients.
View details for PubMedID 29371107