Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Clin Oncol. 2010 Jan 10;28(2):305-10. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2009.24.7502. Epub 2009 Nov 30.

Use of video to facilitate end-of-life discussions with patients with cancer: a randomized controlled trial.

Author information

  • 1Departments of Medicine, Neurology and Cancer Center, and Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, 50 Staniford St, 9th floor, Boston, MA 02114, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Clin Oncol. 2010 Mar 10;28(8):1438.



To determine whether the use of a goals-of-care video to supplement a verbal description can improve end-of-life decision making for patients with cancer.


Fifty participants with malignant glioma were randomly assigned to either a verbal narrative of goals-of-care options at the end of life (control), or a video after the same verbal narrative (intervention) in this randomized controlled trial. The video depicts three levels of medical care: life-prolonging care (cardiopulmonary resuscitation [CPR], ventilation), basic care (hospitalization, no CPR), and comfort care (symptom relief). The primary study outcome was participants' preferences for end-of-life care. The secondary outcome was participants' uncertainty regarding decision making (score range, 3 to 15; higher score indicating less uncertainty). Participants' comfort level with the video was also measured.


Fifty participants were randomly assigned to either the verbal narrative (n = 27) or video (n = 23). After the verbal description, 25.9% of participants preferred life-prolonging care, 51.9% basic care, and 22.2% comfort care. In the video arm, no participants preferred life-prolonging care, 4.4% preferred basic care, 91.3% preferred comfort care, and 4.4% were uncertain (P < .0001). The mean uncertainty score was higher in the video group than in the verbal group (13.7 v 11.5, respectively; P < .002). In the intervention arm, 82.6% of participants reported being very comfortable watching the video.


Compared with participants who only heard a verbal description, participants who viewed a goals-of-care video were more likely to prefer comfort care and avoid CPR, and were more certain of their end-of-life decision making. Participants reported feeling comfortable watching the video.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk