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Am J Psychiatry. 2000 Jun;157(6):1009-11.

Effect of cognitive impairment and premorbid intelligence on treatment preferences for life-sustaining medical therapy.

Author information

  • 1Section of Old Age Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Warneford Hospital, UK. seena.fazel@psych.ox.ac.uk

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This study examines the influence of cognitive impairment, premorbid intelligence, and decision-making capacity to complete advance directives on the treatment preferences for life-sustaining medical therapy in the elderly.

METHOD:

One hundred elderly individuals were recruited. Fifty were first referrals to specialist services with a DSM-IV diagnosis of dementia, and 50 were volunteers. Each person was asked about treatment preferences in three clinical vignettes.

RESULTS:

Elderly individuals who had cognitive impairment and were incapable of completing advance directives were significantly more likely to opt for life-sustaining interventions. There was no association between premorbid intelligence and treatment preferences.

CONCLUSIONS:

Cognitive impairment appears to influence treatment preferences for life-sustaining medical therapy. With increasing cognitive impairment, elderly individuals tend to opt for treatment interventions.

PMID:
10831485
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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