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Is it safe? Talking to teens with HIV/AIDS about death and dying: a 3-month evaluation of Family Centered Advance Care (FACE) planning – anxiety, depression, quality of life

Authors Lyon M , Garvie PA, Briggs L, He J, Malow R, D’Angelo LJ, McCarter R

Published 18 February 2010 Volume 2010:2 Pages 27—37


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Maureen E Lyon1, Patricia A Garvie2, Linda Briggs3, Jianping He4, Robert Malow5, Lawrence J D’Angelo1, Robert McCarter4

1Children’s National Medical Center and George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, District of Columbia; 2St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee; 3Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation, Inc., Madison, Wisconsin; 4Children’s Research Institute, Washington, District of Columbia; 5Florida International University, Miami, Florida

Purpose: To determine the safety of engaging HIV-positive (HIV+) adolescents in a Family Centered Advance Care (FACE) planning intervention.

Patients and methods: We conducted a 2-armed, randomized controlled clinical trial in 2 hospital-based outpatient clinics from 2006–2008 with HIV+ adolescents and their surrogates (n = 76). Three 60–90 minutes sessions were conducted weekly. FACE intervention groups received: Lyon FCACP Survey©, the Respecting Choices® interview, and completion of The Five Wishes©. The Healthy Living Control (HLC) received: Developmental History, Healthy Tips, Future Planning (vocational, school or vocational rehabilitation). Three-month post-intervention outcomes were: completion of advance directive (Five Wishes©); psychological adjustment (Beck Depression, Anxiety Inventories); quality of life (PedsQL™); and HIV symptoms (General Health Self-Assessment).

Results: Adolescents had a mean age, 16 years; 40% male; 92% African-American; 68% with perinatally acquired HIV, 29% had AIDS diagnosis. FACE participants completed advance directives more than controls, using time matched comparison (P < 0.001). Neither anxiety, nor depression, increased at clinically or statistically significant levels post-intervention. FACE adolescents maintained quality of life. FACE families perceived their adolescents as worsening in their school (P = 0.018) and emotional (P = 0.029) quality of life at 3 months, compared with controls.

Conclusions: Participating in advance care planning did not unduly distress HIV+ adolescents.

Keywords: adolescents, advance care planning, communication, decision-making, family intervention, HIV/AIDS

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