Quality and Satisfaction With Advance Care Planning Conversations Among English- and Spanish-Speaking Older Adults

Laura P. Gelfman, Deborah E. Barnes, Nathan Goldstein, Aiesha M. Volow, Ying Shi, Brookelle Li, Rebecca L. Sudore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Little is known about the patient-reported quality of and satisfaction with advance care planning (ACP) conversations with surrogates and clinicians among English- and Spanish-speaking older adults, or the potential disparities associated with ACP communication satisfaction. Objectives: To determine patients’ perceived quality of and satisfaction with ACP surrogate/clinician conversations and associated patient characteristics. Design: Cross-sectional baseline data were used from two ACP trials, 2013–2017. Outcomes included self-reported ACP conversation quality (‘‘general’’ vs. ‘‘detailed’’) and communication satisfaction (5-point Likert scale). Associations were determined by chi-squared and t-tests. Setting/Subjects: Subjects were primary care patients ‡55 years with chronic/serious illness in the United States. Results: Of 1398 patients, mean age was 65.6 years (–7.7), 46% women, 32% Spanish speaking, 34% had limited health literacy, and 589 (42%) reported conversations with surrogates and 216 (15%) with clinicians. Of these, less than half rated the conversations as detailed high quality (clinician: 43%; surrogate: 37%). Five-point communication satisfaction scores were higher with detailed versus general conversations (e.g., surrogates: 4.4 vs. 4.1, p = 0.001; clinicians: 4.4 vs. 4.2, p = 0.18) and more often reported by men versus women [(4.4 (0.8) vs. 4.0 (1.0), p = 0.003]; those with adequate versus limited health literacy [4.4 (0.8) vs. 4.0 (0.9), p = 0.002]; and English versus Spanish speakers [4.5 (0.7) vs. 3.5 (0.9), p < 0.001]. Conclusions: Among English- and Spanish-speaking older adults, ACP conversations were infrequent and most were general in quality. Higher quality detailed conversations resulted in greater communication satisfaction. Interventions are needed to improve conversation quality, particularly for Spanish-speaking patients and those with limited health literacy. Trial Registrations: ClinicalTrials.gov identifiers: ‘‘Improving Advance Care Planning by Preparing Diverse Seniors for Decision Making (PREPARE)’’ NCT01990235 and ‘‘Preparing Spanish-Speaking Older Adults for Advance Care Planning and Medical Decision Making (PREPARE)’’ NCT02072941.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1380-1385
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Palliative Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2023


  • advance care planning
  • communication satisfaction
  • disparities
  • older adults


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