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Aging Ment Health. 2018 Dec 28:1-11. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2018.1533521. [Epub ahead of print]

The association between the number of chronic health conditions and advance care planning varies by race/ethnicity.

Author information

1
a Department of Consumer Sciences , The University of Alabama , Tuscaloosa , Alabama , USA.
2
b Alabama Research Institute on Aging, The University of Alabama , Tuscaloosa , Alabama , USA.
3
c Department of Psychology , The University of Alabama , Tuscaloosa , Alabama , USA.
4
d Department of Educational Studies , The Ohio State University , Columbus , Ohio , USA.
5
e Department of Psychology , Chung-Ang University , Seoul , South Korea.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Although a national consensus exists on the need to increase the rates of advance care planning (ACP) for all adults, racial/ethnic differences in ACP have been consistently observed. This study investigated the intersection of racial/ethnic differences and the number of chronic health conditions on ACP among middle-aged and older adults in the United States.

METHOD:

Responses from 8,926 adults from the 2014 wave of the Health and Retirement Study were entered into multilevel hierarchical logistic regression analyses with generalized linear mixed models to predict ACP focused on assigning a durable power of attorney for healthcare (DPOAHC) and having a written living will after adjusting for covariates.

RESULTS:

We found a significant positive relationship between the number of chronic health conditions and ACP. Non-Hispanic Blacks/African Americans and Hispanics were less likely to engage in ACP than non-Hispanic Whites/Caucasians. Racial/ethnic disparities were even starker for completing a living will. The number of chronic health conditions had a greater effect for Hispanics than non-Hispanic Whites/Caucasians on ACP through assigning a DPOAHC and having a living will. The initial disparity in ACP among Hispanics with no chronic health conditions decreased as the number of chronic health conditions increased.

CONCLUSION:

Our findings suggest that more chronic health conditions increase the likelihood that Hispanics will complete ACP documents. These ACP differences should be highlighted to researchers, policymakers, and healthcare professionals to reduce stark racial/ethnic disparities in ACP. A comprehensive and culturally caring decision-making approach should be considered when individuals and families engage in ACP.

KEYWORDS:

Advance care planning; chronic health conditions; durable power of attorney for healthcare; living will; race/ethnicity

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