Complex advance care planning intervention in general practice (ACP-GP): a cluster-randomised controlled trial

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Downloads (Pure)


Background Advance care planning (ACP) is an iterative communication process about patients’ preferences for future care. In general practice, there are barriers to ACP at patient, GP, and healthcare-system levels. A complex intervention may be necessary to reduce barriers.

Aim To evaluate the effects of a complex ACP intervention for patients with chronic, life-limiting illness in general practice (ACP-GP).

Design and setting A cluster-randomised controlled trial was undertaken in Belgian general practice.

Method ACP-GP included a patient workbook, GP training, ACP conversations, and a documentation template. The control group received usual care. Outcomes were the 15-item ACP Engagement Survey for patients and the ACP Self-Efficacy scale for GPs. Linear mixed models evaluated differences at 3 months (T1, effectiveness evaluation) and 6 months (T2) post-baseline. Analysis was intention-to-treat.

Results In total, 35 GPs and 95 patients were randomised. Patient ACP engagement did not differ between the intervention and control group at T1 (baseline-adjusted mean difference = 0.34; 95% confidence interval [CI] = −0.02 to 0.69; P = 0.062) or T2 (baseline-adjusted mean difference = 0.20; 95% CI = −0.17 to 0.57; P = 0.28). For GP ACP self-efficacy, there were no significant differences between groups at T1 (baseline-adjusted mean difference = 0.16; 95% CI = −0.04 to 0.35; P = 0.11) or at T2 (baseline-adjusted mean difference = 0.11; 95% CI = −0.09 to 0.31; P = 0.27).

Conclusion ACP-GP did not improve patient engagement and GP self-efficacy more than usual care. Both groups showed patterns of increase from baseline. Trial procedures and the COVID-19 pandemic may have increased awareness about ACP.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-87
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
Issue number739
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Authors.


Dive into the research topics of 'Complex advance care planning intervention in general practice (ACP-GP): a cluster-randomised controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this