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Soc Work Health Care. 2000;32(2):23-39.

The influence of religious and personal values on nursing home residents' attitudes toward life-sustaining treatments.

Author information

  • Margaret Blenkner Research Center, The Benjamin Rose Institute, Cleveland, OH 44114-3301, USA. fejaz@benrose.org


A cross-sectional survey design was used to interview 133 Jewish, Catholic and Protestant residents from 13 nursing homes to examine the influence of religious and personal values on attitudes toward life-sustaining treatments. Subjects on average were 83 years old, Caucasian and female, with more than half having Advance Directives (ADs). Jewish subjects, as well as those who relied on God, were better educated and more anxious about death, had significantly more positive attitudes toward life-sustaining treatments at the end-of-life. On the other hand, those who had implemented ADs desired fewer life-sustaining treatments. Findings demonstrate that understanding individual desires for life-sustaining treatments is complex. Practitioners who provide education on end-of-life decisions need to discuss a myriad of issues including individual religious and personal values and other characteristics in an effort to understand and respect treatment choices.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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