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Motivations, aims and communication around advance directives: a mixed-methods study into the perspective of their owners and the influence of a current illness


, : Motivations, aims and communication around advance directives: a mixed-methods study into the perspective of their owners and the influence of a current illness. Patient Education and Counseling 95(3): 393-399

What are motivations of owners of an advance directive (AD) to draft an AD, what do they aim for with their AD and do they communicate about their AD? Written questionnaires were sent to a cohort of people owning different types of ADs (n=5768). A purposive sample of people suffering from an illness was selected from the cohort for an in-depth interview (n=29). About half of our population had no direct motivation to draft their AD. Most mentioned motivation for the other half was an illness of a family member or friend. Many different and specific aims for drafting an AD were mentioned. An often mentioned more general aim in people with different ADs was to prevent unnecessary lengthening of life or treatment (14-16%). Most respondents communicated about having an AD with close-ones (63-88%) and with their GP (65-79%). In the interviews people gave vivid examples of experiences of what they hoped to prevent at the end of life. Some mentioned difficulties foreseeing the future and gave examples of response shift. ADs can give directions to caregivers about what people want at the end of life. ADs have to be discussed in detail by their owners and caregivers, since owners often have specific aims with their AD.

US$19.90

PMID: 24726784

DOI: 10.1016/j.pec.2014.03.009


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