Documentation quality of inpatient code status discussions

Andrew Thurston, Diane B. Wayne, Joseph Feinglass, Rashmi K. Sharma*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Context. Accurate documentation of inpatient code status discussions (CSDs) is important because of frequent patient care handoffs.

Objectives. To examine the quality of inpatient CSD documentation and compare documentation quality across physician services.

Methods. This was a retrospective study of patients hospitalized between January 1 and June 30, 2011 with a new or canceled do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order at least 24 hours after hospital admission. We developed a chart abstraction tool to assess the documentation of five quality elements: 1) who the DNR discussion was held with, 2) patient goals/values, 3) prognosis, 4) treatment options and resuscitation outcomes, and 5) health care power of attorney (HCPOA).

Results. We identified 379 patients, of whom 235 (62%) had a note documenting a CSD. After excluding patients lacking a note from their primary service, 227 remained for analysis. Sixty-three percent of notes contained documentation of who the discussion was held with. Patient goals/values were documented in 43%, discussion of prognosis in 14%, treatment options and resuscitation outcomes in 40%, and HCPOA in 29%. Hospitalists were more likely than residents to document who the discussion was held with (P < 0.001) and patient goals/values (P < 0.001), whereas internal medicine residents were more likely to document HCPOA (P =0.04). The mean number of elements documented for hospitalists was 2.40, followed by internal medicine residents at 2.07, and non-internal medicine trainees at 1.30 (P < 0.001).

Conclusion. Documentation quality of inpatient CSDs was poor. Our findings highlight the need to improve the quality of resident and attending CSD documentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)632-638
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014


  • DNR orders
  • Documentation
  • advance care
  • planning
  • resuscitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
  • Nursing(all)


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