Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


Health Services


Robert McWhirt


The number of individuals aged more than 65 years in the United States and their life expectancy has been increasing in the past decades. In spite of the presence of federal and accreditation policies recommending completion of advance directive documents by patients admitted to health care settings, advance directive completion rates are low in most health care organizations. The purpose of this study was to determine the level of advance directive completion among home health patients. The health belief model provided the theoretical framework that guided this study. A retrospective chart review was carried out in a home health agency with about 51 patients. Demographic details, including age, gender, ethnicity, nature of illness and type of health insurance were collected. Descriptive statistics were used to determine the percentage of home health patients with existing advance directives and those who do not have an advance directive. The study revealed that only 25% of the patients in the home health care agency had a completed advance directive. The finding indicate a disconnect between the recommended and the actual practice with regards to end of life issues. There is a pressing need for more complete documentation of the patient's desires and wishes regarding end of life care at home health care facilities. Documenting the patient's end of life preferences and wishes may potentially ease the decision-making process, making the end of life days less stressful for the patients and their families at the same time promoting the provision of personalized health care at the end of life.