Comparison of an Easy to Read Advance Directive Versus a Standard Advance Directive

2010-07-15 17:00:00 | BioPortfolio


The purpose of this study is to compare the acceptability, usefulness, self-efficacy and comprehension of an easy-to-read advance directive form versus a standard advance directive form written at a post graduate reading level.


Advance directives are forms that allow patients to document their medical treatment preferences and to designate another person to help make medical decisions if they were to become too sick to make their own decisions. Most patients, even seriously ill older adults, do not fill out advance directive forms. Since the mean reading level in the US is at the 8th grade level (5th grade for elders) and since most advance directive documents are written beyond a 12th grade reading level, many patients may not be able to read, much less complete, the standard advance directive forms.

This study hypothesized that an advance directive form written at a 5th grade reading level (AD-Easy) that included culturally appropriate graphics explaining the text, and also included questions concerning patients' values, would be preferred over the standard advance directive form being used in California (AD-Standard).

The participant's literacy level and baseline knowledge of advance directive topics were assessed. Participants were then stratified by literacy level to be randomized to first attempt to read and complete either the AD-Easy or the AD-Standard. Then the participant's acceptance of the forms, self-efficacy or confidence with treatment decisions, attitudes about the form's utility, and post form review comprehension were assessed. Participants then crossed over to review the alternate form and were asked to state which form they preferred to take home. Six months later participants were called and asked if they had thought about their medical treatment preferences, spoken to their family, friends, or doctor about their treatment preferences, or if they filled out the advance directive form.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Uncontrolled, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment, Masking: Single Blind




AD-Easy (Advance Directive-Easy), AD-Standard (Advance Directive-Standard)


San Francisco General Hospital
San Francisco
United States




National Institute on Aging (NIA)

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2010-07-15T17:00:00-0400

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