People Who Fill Out Advance Directives More Likely to Seek Interventions

advance directive

Cleveland Clinic

A new study finds that nearly a third of people who fill out advance health care directives — a person’s wishes for end-of-life care — request medical interventions. The research from DePaul University – “Assessing Advance Care Planning: Examining Autonomous Selections in an Advance Directive,” – was published in the fall by Craig M. Klugman,  hair of DePaul’s Department of Health Sciences, and co-author Nicole M. Tolwin.

No surprise, younger people requested interventions such as respiratory support or antibiotics more frequently than people over the age of 50. Researchers also discovered that many people may not be discussing their wishes with loved ones after an advance directive is completed.

That is not so good because you really should be discussing your wishes with others, especially the person with medical power of attorney who needs to know in your spoken words exactly what you mean in your written advance directive.
Other findings:
  • People over the age of 50 were more likely to refuse aggressive care in the document, while those younger than 50 were more likely to request interventions.
  • Some 95 percent of respondents want to be free from pain during end-of-life care.
  • The vast majority, 93 percent of respondents, described valuing quality of life over quantity.
  • Overall, two-thirds to three-quarters of participants chose to refuse interventions, lower than findings in previous research.
Researchers also asked where individuals stored their advance directives, and with whom they had discussed them. Findings include:
  • While many respondents turned their advance directive over to an attorney or physician, far fewer actually had conversations about the document with loved ones.
  • Of those who had conversations about advance care planning, most discussed it with a spouse or partner, followed by a child or a sibling.