Life or Death Decisions: online engagement using films to explore advance care planning

Borgstrom, Erica; Lucassen, Mathijs; Jones, Rebecca; Amoah, Sas; Axtell-Powell, Georgia and Cooke, Georgie (2020). Life or Death Decisions: online engagement using films to explore advance care planning. In: Palliative Care Congress, 19-20 Mar 2020, Telford, England.



Background: Within the UK, despite policy drives to increase the rates of Advance Care Planning (ACP), it is not widely used by the general public and there are many misconceptions around ACP. The Open University has a commitment to providing free educational resources drawing on its research expertise via OpenLearn. Life or Death Decisions is an online educational interactive created at The Open University to introduce the general public to ACP. It uses a bespoke film about a woman who has a sudden medical emergency to explore what the people around her should do.

Methods: An interactive was created using the Elucidat platform. Issues raised include: asking if she should go into hospital, should she have an operation, and who should be involved in decision-making. The interactive provides information about ACP, how it can be done, and who can be involved, including clarifying the concept of ‘next of kin’. The interactive was launched in September 2018 and data is continuously being collected about users of the interactive, including total number of ‘learners’, completion rates, learner country, and time spent using the interactive. A survey about ACP knowledge and attitudes is embedded at the end.

Results: Over 2,000 unique learners have engaged with the interactive; many are re-visiting the site. 15% of learners are completing the entire interactive; 3% are contributing to the survey. Most learners are from the UK. 16% of learners are clicking through to find out more about studying death and dying at the Open University. We have suggestions on how future interactives can be created to increase usage and survey response.

Conclusions: The Life or Death Decisions interactive provides a means to teach the public about advance care planning using a dramatized film. Learner use is comparative with similar interactives via OpenLearn.

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