• end-stage renal disease (ESRD);
  • African American;
  • end-of-life care;
  • decision making;
  • representational intervention


This randomized controlled trial tested an intervention, Sharing Patients' Illness Representations to Increase Trust (SPIRIT), designed to enhance communication regarding end-of-life care between African Americans with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and their chosen surrogate decision makers (N = 58 dyads). We used surveys and semi-structured interviews to determine the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effects of SPIRIT on patient and surrogate outcomes at 1 week and 3 months post-intervention. We also evaluated patients' deaths and surrogates' end-of-life decision making to assess surrogates' perceptions of benefits and limitations of the SPIRIT while facing end-of-life decisions. We found that SPIRIT promoted communication between patients and their surrogates and was effective and well received by the participants. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 32:260–273, 2009