We often pair the aging process with advance care planning. However, the ability to make your own health care decisions is valuable at any age, particularly when patients with terminal illnesses are involved.
Dr. Jennifer Needle, MD, MPH is a national leader in pediatric advance care planning (pACP) - an intervention that includes: “(1) giving adolescents a voice in their own end-of-life care, (2) initiating early pACP conversations to close gaps in understanding, (3) documenting advance directives in the electronic health record (EHR), and (4) sharing pACP conversations with the treating clinicians to support communication before a medical crisis.”
JAMA Network Open recently published the results of a longitudinal study of the Family-Centered Advance Care Planning for Teens with Cancer (FACE-TC) intervention, for which Dr. Needle was a co-investigator and the primary author of the paper.. The study evaluated both the impact of the intervention and the length of time the intervention effect persisted on the shared understanding between an adolescent and their parent/caregiver with regard to their end of life treatment preferences. This metric is critical because it illuminates the need for pediatric advance care planning interventions to be delivered in a cyclical manner rather than at a single point in time in the patient’s life.