Digital Advance Care Planning with Severe Mental Illness: A retrospective observational cohort analysis of the use of an electronic palliative care coordination system

Rea Gill*, Joanne Droney, Gareth Owen, Julia Riley, Lucy Stephenson

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: People living with severe mental illness (SMI) face significant health inequalities, including in palliative care. Advance Care Planning (ACP) is widely recommended by palliative care experts and could reduce inequalities. However, implementing ACP with this group is challenging. Electronic Palliative Care Coordination Systems such as Coordinate my Care (CMC) have been introduced to support documentation and sharing of ACP records with relevant healthcare providers. This study explores the use of CMC amongst those with SMI and aims to describe how those with a primary diagnosis of SMI who have used CMC for ACP, and makes recommendations for future research and policy. Method: A retrospective observational cohort analysis was completed of CMC records created 01/01/2010–31/09/2021 where the service user had a primary diagnosis of SMI, with no exclusions based on comorbidities. Descriptive statistics were used to report on characteristics including: age, diagnosis, individual prognosis and resuscitation status. Thematic analysis was used to report on the content of patients’ statements of preference. Results: 1826 records were identified. Of this sample most (60.1%) had capacity to make treatment decisions, 47.8% were aged under 70, 86.7% were given a prognosis of ‘years’ and most (63.1%) remained for full cardio-pulmonary resuscitation in the event of cardio-pulmonary arrest. Records with completed statements of preferences (20.3%) contained information about preferences for physical and mental health treatment care as well as information about patient presentation and capacity, although most were brief and lacked expression of patient voice. Discussion: Compared to usual CMC users, the cohort of interest are relatively able, younger people using CMC to make long-term plans for active physical and mental health treatment. ADM is a service user-driven process, and so it was expected that authentic patient voice would be expressed within statements of preference, however this was mostly not achieved. Conclusions: This digital tool is being used by people with SMI but to plan for more than palliative care. This cohort and supporting professionals have used CMC to plan for longer term physical and mental healthcare. Future research and policy should focus on development of tailored digital tools for people with SMI to plan for palliative, physical and mental healthcare and support expression of patient voice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number56
JournalBMC Palliative Care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2024


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