Attitudes toward Discussing Life‐Sustaining Treatments in Extended Care Facility Patients

Nicole Lurie, Alfred M. Pheley, Steven H Miles, Susan Bannick‐Mohrland

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24 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine nursing home residents' attitudes toward discussing life‐sustaining treatment plans with their physicians and the factors associated with these attitudes. Objective: Random‐sample, interviewer‐administered survey. Setting: Forty‐one nursing homes in which some residents were cared for by house‐staff physicians of the Hennepin County (Minnesota) Medical Center Extended Care Department. Patients: Random sample of 150 nursing home residents receiving primary care from Extended Care Department physicians, 131 (87%) of whom completed the interview. Results: Older individuals were less likely to have spoken with physicians and family members about treatment plans (P < 0.05), and to have felt that they had more say than necessary in their treatment (P < 0.05). Only 19 (14.5%) residents had formal treatment plan discussions about limiting life‐sustaining treatment. Although perceived current health status did not differ between residents with and without treatment plans, those residents who had discussions about advance directives were more likely to report health improvement over the past 6 months (P < 0.05). Residents with formal advance directives were, on average, 8.4 years younger than those without them (P < 0.05). Conclusions: Younger patients are more likely to have had discussions about life‐sustaining treatment and are also more frequently involved in plan development. Preferences for level of involvement should be considered during advance directive planning, and it should be recognized that these preferences may vary with age. Future research should evaluate whether this age relationship is a true age or a cohort effect. J Am Geriatr Soc 40:1205–1208, 1992 1992 The American Geriatrics Society

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1205-1208
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1992


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