When an Advance Directive is in Place, Dying is More Dignified and Peaceful

A Belgian study suggests that when a nursing home patient has advanced directives in place, dying is more peaceful. Advance care planning is considered a central component of good quality palliative care and especially relevant for people who lose the capacity to make decisions at the end of life. Investigators set out to investigate to what extent (1) advance care planning in the form of written advance patient directives and verbal communication with patient and/or relatives about future care and (2) the existence of written advance general practitioner orders were related to the quality of dying of nursing home residents with dementia. Researchers concluded that for nursing home residents with dementia there is a strong association between having a written advance directive and quality of dying. Where wishes are written, relatives report lower levels of emotional distress at the end of life. Read my full post on my about.com site.