Newspaper coverage of advance care planning during the COVID-19 pandemic: Content analysis

Doris van der Smissen*, Marleen van Leeuwen, Rebecca L. Sudore, Jonathan Koffman, Daren K. Heyland, Agnes van der Heide, Judith A.C. Rietjens, Ida J. Korfage

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


COVID-19 may cause sudden serious illness, and relatives having to act on patients’ behalf, emphasizing the relevance of advance care planning (ACP). We explored how ACP was portrayed in newspapers during year one of the pandemic. In ‘LexisNexis Uni’, we identified English-language newspaper articles about ACP and COVID-19, published January–November 2020. We applied content analysis; unitizing, sampling, recording or coding, reducing, inferring, and narrating the data. We identified 131 articles, published in UK (n = 59), Canada (n = 32), US (n = 15), Australia (n = 14), Ireland (n = 6), and one each from Israel, Uganda, India, New-Zealand, and France. Forty articles (31%) included definitions of ACP. Most mentioned exploring (93%), discussing (71%), and recording (72%) treatment preferences; 28% described exploration of values/goals, 66% encouraged engaging in ACP. No false or sensationalist information about ACP was provided. ACP was often not fully described. Public campaigns about ACP might improve the full picture of ACP to the public.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-42
Number of pages10
JournalDeath Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Dr. Sudore is funded in part by the National Institute on
Aging, National Institutes of Health [K24AG054415]. The
funding source had no involvement in the study design, collection, analysis and interpretation of data, in the writing of
the report and in the decision to submit the article for

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


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