Medline ® Abstracts for References 14,32
of 'Advance care planning and advance directives'
Association between advance directives and quality of end-of-life care: a national study.
Teno JM, Gruneir A, Schwartz Z, Nanda A, Wetle T
J Am Geriatr Soc. 2007;55(2):189.
OBJECTIVES: To examine the role of advance directives (ADs) 10 years after the Patient Self-Determination Act.
DESIGN: Mortality follow-back survey.
SETTING: People who died in a nursing home, hospital, or at home.
PARTICIPANTS: Bereaved family member or other knowledgeable informant.
MEASUREMENTS: Telephone interviewers that asked about the use of written ADs, use of life-sustaining treatment, and quality of care by asking whether staff provided desired symptom relief, treated the dying with respect, supported shared decision-making, coordinated care, and provided family with the needed information and emotional support.
RESULTS: Of the 1,587 people who died, 70.8% had an AD. Persons who died athome with hospice or in a nursing home were more likely to have an AD. In addition, those with an AD were less likely to have a feeding tube (17% vs 27%) or use a respirator in the last month of life (11.8% vs 22.0%). Bereaved family members who reported that the decedent did not have an AD were more likely to report concerns with physician communication (adjusted odds ratio (AOR)=1.4, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.1-1.6) and with being informed about what to expect (AOR=1.2, 95% CI=1.0-1.3). No statistically significant differences were observed in other outcomes. Even in those with an AD, important quality concerns remained; one in four reported an unmet need in pain, one in two reported inadequate emotional support for the patient, and one in three stated inadequate family emotional support.
CONCLUSION: Bereaved family member report of completion of an AD was associated with greater use of hospice and fewer reported concerns with communication, yet important opportunities remain to improve the quality of end-of-life care.
Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research, Brown Medical School, Providence, Rhode Island, USA. Joan_Teno@brown.edu
Advance directives in Spain. Perspectives from a medical bioethicist approach.
Simon-Lorda P, Tamayo-Velázquez MI, Barrio-Cantalejo IM
Bioethics. 2008 Jul;22(6):346-54. Epub 2008 May 12.
Spain is one of the most advanced European countries in terms of the legislative and administrative development of ADs. Article 11 of Law 41/2002, concerning Patient Autonomy, regulates 'advance directives' and has prompted various Autonomous Regions to develop legislation in this area. Nevertheless, whilst the variety of legislations in different territories presents advantages, the disparity of criteria also presents problems. Despite significant legislative development, only 23,000 Spanish citizens have filled in an AD. Clearly, AD use is confined to a minority. Several surveys, however, show that the Spanish population views these documents in a positive light. Thus, we must analyse this discrepancy between attitude and practice. A similar situation exists amongst health professionals. Whilst they generally feel that the use of ADs is positive and necessary, they are frequently unwilling to employ them. Bioethical literature and research on ADs has significantly increased in Spain over the last six years. It is likely that this trend will continue in the foreseeable future; but more resources and effort are required if ADs are to become consolidated.
University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. email@example.com