Aims: Early engagement in advance care planning (ACP) is recommended in heart failure (HF) management. We investigated the preferences of patients with HF regarding ACP and end-of-life (EOL) care, including their desired timing of ACP initiation. Methods and results: Data were collected using a 92-item questionnaire survey, which was directly distributed to hospitalized patients by dedicated physicians and nurses in a university hospital setting. One-hundred eighty-seven patients agreed to participate (response rate: 92.6%), and 171 completed the survey [valid response rate: 84.7%; men: 67.3%; median age: 73.0 (63.0–81.0) years]. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to identify the predictors of positive attitudes towards ACP. Most recognized ACP as important for their care (n = 127, 74.3%), 48.1% stated that ACP should be initiated after repeated HF hospitalizations in the past year, and 29.0% preferred ACP to begin during the first or second HF hospitalization. Only 21.7% of patients had previously engaged in ACP conversations during HF management. Positive attitudes towards ACP were associated with lower depressive symptoms [two-item Patient Health Questionnaire; odds ratio (OR): 0.75, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.61–0.92, P-value: 0.006], marriage (OR: 2.53, 95% CI: 1.25–5.12, P-value: 0.010), and a high educational level (OR: 2.66, 95% CI: 1.28–5.56, P-value: 0.009), but not with severity of HF (represented by Seattle Heart Failure Model risk score). Regarding EOL care, while ‘Saying what one wants to tell loved ones’ (83.4%), ‘Dying a natural death’ (81.8%), and ‘Being able to stay at one's favorite place’ (75.6%) were the three most important factors for patients, preferences for ‘Receiving sufficient treatment’ (56.5%) and ‘Knowing what to expect about future condition’ (50.3%) were divergent. Conclusions: Despite patients' preferences for ACP conversations, there was a discrepancy between preference and engagement in ACP among patients hospitalized for HF. Patients' preferences regarding EOL care may differ; physicians need to consider the appropriate ACP approach to align with patients' care goals.
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