Medline ® Abstracts for References 9,13,24
of 'Advance care planning and advance directives'
Advance directives and outcomes of surrogate decision making before death.
Silveira MJ, Kim SY, Langa KM
N Engl J Med. 2010;362(13):1211.
BACKGROUND: Recent discussions about health care reform have raised questions regarding the value of advance directives.
METHODS: We used data from survey proxies in the Health and Retirement Study involving adults 60 years of age or older who had died between 2000 and 2006 to determine the prevalence of the need for decision making and lost decision-making capacity and to test the association between preferences documented in advance directives and outcomes of surrogate decision making.
RESULTS: Of 3746 subjects, 42.5% required decision making, of whom 70.3% lacked decision-making capacity and 67.6% of those subjects, in turn, had advance directives. Subjects who had living wills were more likely to want limited care (92.7%) or comfort care (96.2%) than all care possible (1.9%); 83.2% of subjects who requested limited care and 97.1% of subjects who requested comfort care received care consistent with their preferences. Among the 10 subjects who requested all care possible, only 5 received it; however, subjects who requested all care possible were far more likely to receive aggressive care as compared with those who did not request it (adjusted odds ratio, 22.62; 95% confidence interval [CI], 4.45 to 115.00). Subjects with living wills were less likely to receive all care possible (adjusted odds ratio, 0.33; 95% CI, 0.19 to 0.56) than were subjects without living wills. Subjects who had assigned a durable power of attorney for health care were less likely to die in a hospital (adjusted odds ratio, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.55 to 0.93) or receive all care possible (adjusted odds ratio, 0.54; 95% CI, 0.34 to 0.86) than were subjects who had not assigned a durable power of attorney for health care.
CONCLUSIONS: Between 2000 and 2006, many elderly Americans needed decision making near the end of life at a time when most lacked the capacity to make decisions. Patients who had prepared advance directives received care that was strongly associated with their preferences. These findings support the continued use of advance directives.
Veterans Affairs Center for Clinical Management Research, and Division of General Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
Associations between end-of-life discussions, patient mental health, medical care near death, and caregiver bereavement adjustment.
Wright AA, Zhang B, Ray A, Mack JW, Trice E, Balboni T, Mitchell SL, Jackson VA, Block SD, Maciejewski PK, Prigerson HG
CONTEXT: Talking about death can be difficult. Without evidence that end-of-life discussions improve patient outcomes, physicians must balance their desire to honor patient autonomy against a concern of inflicting psychological harm.
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether end-of-life discussions with physicians are associated with fewer aggressive interventions.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A US multisite, prospective, longitudinal cohort study of patients with advanced cancer and their informal caregivers (n = 332 dyads), September 2002-February 2008. Patients were followed up from enrollment to death, a median of 4.4 months later. Bereaved caregivers' psychiatric illness and quality of life was assessed a median of 6.5 months later.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Aggressive medical care (eg, ventilation, resuscitation) and hospice in the final week of life. Secondary outcomes included patients' mental health and caregivers' bereavement adjustment.
RESULTS: One hundred twenty-three of 332 (37.0%) patients reported having end-of-life discussions before baseline. Such discussions were not associated with higher rates of major depressive disorder (8.3% vs 5.8%; adjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.33; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.54-3.32), or more worry (mean McGill score, 6.5 vs 7.0; P = .19). After propensity-score weighted adjustment, end-of-life discussions were associated with lower rates of ventilation (1.6% vs 11.0%; adjusted OR, 0.26; 95% CI, 0.08-0.83), resuscitation (0.8% vs 6.7%; adjusted OR, 0.16; 95% CI, 0.03-0.80), ICU admission (4.1% vs 12.4%; adjusted OR, 0.35; 95% CI, 0.14-0.90), and earlier hospice enrollment (65.6% vs 44.5%; adjusted OR, 1.65;95% CI, 1.04-2.63). In adjusted analyses, more aggressive medical care was associated with worse patient quality of life (6.4 vs 4.6; F = 3.61, P = .01) and higher risk of major depressive disorder in bereaved caregivers (adjusted OR, 3.37; 95% CI, 1.12-10.13), whereas longer hospice stays were associated with better patient quality of life (mean score, 5.6 vs 6.9; F = 3.70, P = .01). Better patient quality of life was associated with better caregiver quality of life at follow-up (beta = .20; P = .001).
CONCLUSIONS: End-of-life discussions are associated with less aggressive medical care near death and earlier hospice referrals. Aggressive care is associated with worse patient quality of life and worse bereavement adjustment.
Department of Medical Oncology and Center for Psycho-Oncology and Palliative Care Research, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 550 Shields Warren, 44 Binney St, Boston, MA 02115, USA. email@example.com
Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990, Public Law No. 101-508, §4206 & 4751 (1990).
no abstract available