Clinical Trial Examines Advance Care Planning for Teens with Cancer

A randomized controlled clinical trial by Maureen E. Lyon, Ph.D., of the Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, and colleagues examined the efficacy of family-centered advance care planning (ACP) for adolescents with cancer. (Online First)

The clinical trial included 60 adolescents (ages 14 to 21 years) and their surrogates or families who were enrolled in the trial between January 2011 and March 2012. The intervention group had three sessions of family-centered ACP intervention. The standard-of-care control group was given a brochure with information on ACP during the baseline assessment but did receive not the facilitated conversations.

Adolescents in the intervention group were “significantly better informed” about end-of-life decisions. The intervention adolescents (100 percent) also wanted their families “to do what is best at the time,” whereas fewer adolescents in the control group (62 percent) “gave families this leeway,” according to the study results.

“Advance care planning enabled families to understand and honor their adolescents’ wishes. Intervention dyads were more likely than controls to limits treatments,” the study concludes.

JAMA Pediatr. Published online March 11, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.943.