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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 130

of 'Psychosocial issues in advanced illness'

End-of-life care preferences of patients enrolled in cardiovascular rehabilitation programs.
Heffner JE, Barbieri C
Chest. 2000 May;117(5):1474-81.
STUDY OBJECTIVES: The study assessed the interests of ambulatory cardiac patients in advance planning and their willingness to participate in rehabilitation program-based end-of-life education.
DESIGN: Observational survey study.
SETTING: Fourteen outpatient cardiac rehabilitation programs in 11 states.
PARTICIPANTS: Four hundred fifteen subjects enrolled in cardiac rehabilitation.
MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS: A questionnaire determined patient preferences for advance planning, completion of advance directives, completion of patient-physician discussions on end-of-life care, and effects of health status on patient acceptance of life-sustaining interventions. Seventy-two percent of patients wanted to direct their own end-of-life care, 86% desired more information on advance directives, 62% wanted to learn about life-sustaining care, and 96% were receptive to advance-planning discussions with theirphysicians. Seventy-two percent of patients had considered that they might require life-sustaining care in the future; acceptability of resuscitative care depended on health status and probability of survival. However, only 15% had discussed advance planning with their physicians, and 10% were confident that their physicians understood their end-of-life wishes. Physicians and cardiovascular rehabilitation programs were considered desirable sources of information on advance planning.
CONCLUSIONS: Cardiac patients enrolled in rehabilitation programs want to learn more about end-of-life care and need more opportunities to discuss advance planning with their physicians. Patients consider cardiovascular rehabilitation programs to be acceptable sites for advance planning education.
Department of Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston 29425, USA. heffnerj@musc.edu