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Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2003 Jul 4;128(27):1494-7.

[Advance Directives: theoretical concept and practical significance in the USA].

[Article in German]

Author information

  • 1Institut für Geschichte und Ethik der Medizin, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen. jochen.vollmann@ethik.med.uni-erlangen.de

Abstract

The article examines on the basic of empirical data the discrepancy between the theoretical demand and the practical role of advance directives. Often advance directives have no influence on medical decision-making in clinical care of critically ill patients. The vague language of the widely used standard living wills and the lack of physician-patient communication in the process of delivering an advance directives are contributing factors. However, many physicians even disregard patients' preferences in concrete and meaningful living wills at the end of life. Besides the lack of information many even seriously ill patients do not deliver an advance because they misjudge their medical prognosis and life expectancy. Often the communication between patients and doctors are blocked because they expect from the each other the first step to talk about end of life decisions and advance directives. In this context physicians claim lack of time, training in communication skills and their discomfort in talking about death and dying with their patients.

PMID:
12840774
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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