Is Advance Care Planning Associated With Decreased Hope in Advanced Cancer?

Michael G. Cohen, Andrew D. Althouse, Robert M. Arnold, Hailey W. Bulls, Douglas White, Edward Chu, Margaret Rosenzweig, Kenneth Smith, Yael Schenker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: Providers have cited fear of taking away hope from patients as one of the principal reasons for deferring advance care planning (ACP). However, research is lacking on the relationship between ACP and hope. We sought to investigate the potential association between ACP and hope in advanced cancer. METHODS: This is a cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from a primary palliative care intervention trial. All patients had advanced solid cancers. Three domains of ACP were measured using validated questions to assess discussion with oncologists about end-of-life (EOL) planning, selection of a surrogate decision maker, and completion of an advance directive. Hope was measured using the Hearth Hope Index (HHI). Multivariable regression was performed, adjusting for variables associated with hope or ACP. RESULTS: A total of 672 patients were included in this analysis. The mean age was 69.3 ± 10.2 years; 54% were female, and 94% were White. Twenty percent of patients (132 of 661) reported having a discussion about EOL planning, 51% (342 of 668) reported completing an advance directive, and 85% (565 of 666) had chosen a surrogate. There was no difference in hope between patients who had and had not had an EOL discussion (adjusted mean difference in HHI, 0.55; P = .181 for adjusted regression), chosen a surrogate (adjusted HHI difference, 0.31; P = .512), or completed an advance directive (adjusted HHI difference, 0.11; P = .752). CONCLUSION: In this study, hope was equivalent among patients who had or had not completed 3 important domains of ACP. These findings do not support concerns that ACP is associated with decreased hope for patients with advanced cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e248-e256
JournalJCO Oncology Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Health Policy
  • Oncology(nursing)


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