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J Am Geriatr Soc. 1992 Mar;40(3):269-73.

Empowerment of the older patient? A randomized, controlled trial to increase discussion and use of advance directives.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, Illinois.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To see if an educational intervention directed at older outpatients would lead to increased use or discussion of advance directives and to characterize patients' reasons for not obtaining advance directives.

DESIGN:

Randomized, controlled trial of an educational intervention versus usual care.

SETTING:

Outpatient geriatrics clinic of a university hospital.

PATIENTS:

One hundred and thirty-one non-demented patients over the age of 65 who did not have an advance directive documented in their record at the start of the study. Forty-eight patients were in the trial arm and 83 in the control.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

All patients had their charts reexamined 6 months after enrollment to look for the presence of a living will, a durable power of attorney for health care, or a physician's note describing a discussion of advance directives. Trial patients were also re-interviewed to examine their reasons for not executing an advance directive.

MAIN RESULTS:

Six months after the intervention, only seven of the 48 trial subjects (15%) had an advance directive or note describing discussion of advance directives in their charts compared to eight of the 83 controls (10%) (P greater than 0.05). When asked to give reasons for not obtaining an advance directive, many patients' responses pointed to procrastination as a significant barrier.

CONCLUSIONS:

Promoting advance directive use is a complicated task. Barriers other than information and access to documents appear to be involved and need to be addressed in future efforts.

PMID:
1538048
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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