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J Palliat Care. 2013 Spring;29(1):5-12.

A population-based study on advance directive completion and completion intention among citizens of the western Canadian province of Alberta.

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  • 1Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Level 3, Edmonton Clinic Health Academy, 11405 87 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 1C9.


Determining what proportion of the public has completed an advance directive and which population subgroups complete or do not complete such a directive is crucially important for planning purposes. Our research objective was to examine and compare advance directive completion, intention to complete, and noncompletion rates among citizens of one Canadian province. A telephone survey was conducted with 1,203 Albertans who met gender, age, and other requirements for a representative sample. When asked, "Do you have a living will or personal directive?" 43.6 percent reported having completed a directive and 42.1 percent indicated that they planned or intended to complete one. Completion rates increased with age. Widowed, self-employed, and retired people, and those who had lost a family member or friend and had other select end-of-life experiences and viewpoints were significantly more likely to have completed one. Although older people more often had an advance directive, personal life-and-death experiences should be recognized as major influences on directive completion.

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