Influence of providing end-of-life care information while in stable condition on patient and family treatment decisions
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Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate patient disposition on end-of-life care after the decision process was explained by the attending physician the patient is while instable condition. Methods: Patients hospitalized in the recuperation and rehabilitation wards were divided into two groups based on whether they were educated (intervention group, 224 patients) about end-of-life care or not (control group, 114 patients) by the attending physician. We performed a questionnaire survey on these patients after they were discharged from the hospital, and a total of 104 (30.8%) patients responded. Results: No difference was observed between the control and intervention group concerning the decision to use an artificial respirator or tube feeding in the terminal phase. Significantly more patients responded that they would want their families more than themselves to receive life-sustaining interventions regardless of their own conscious state. Despite this, over half of the respondents chose "I don't know" when it came to choosing end-of-life care. Conclusion: While intervention did not promote the decision to withhold life-sustaining interventions, the need to provide information on end-of-life care was apparent given that half of the respondents answered "I don't know" to all questions.
Bioethics 19 (1), 37-43, 2009
Japan Association for Bioethics