Timing of Advance Directive Completion and Relationship to Care Preferences.

TitleTiming of Advance Directive Completion and Relationship to Care Preferences.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsEnguidanos, S, Ailshire, JA
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Date Published01/2017
ISSN Number1873-6513
KeywordsLong-term Care, Older Adults, Racial/ethnic differences, Relationships

CONTEXT: Given recent Medicare rules reimbursing clinicians for engaging in advance care planning, there is heightened need to understand factors associated with the timing of advance directive (AD) completion before death and how the timing impacts care decisions.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study is to investigate patterns in timing of AD completion and the relationship between timing and documented care preferences. We hypothesize that ADs completed late in the course of illness or very early in the disease trajectory will reflect higher preferences for aggressive care.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective study using logistic regressions to analyze data from the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative longitudinal survey of older adults.

RESULTS: The analytic sample included exit interviews conducted from 2000-2012 among 2,904 proxy reporters of deceased participants who had an AD. Nearly three-quarters (71%) of ADs were completed a year or more before death. Being younger or a racial/ethnic minority, and having lower education, a diagnosis of cancer or lung disease, and an expected death were associated with completing an AD within the three months prior to death, while having the lowest quartile of assets and memory problems were inversely associated with AD completion. Minorities, those with lower education, expected death, and timing of AD completion were associated with electing aggressive care.

CONCLUSION: Early documentation of care wishes may not be associated with in increased likelihood of electing aggressive care, however ADs completed in the last months of life have higher rates of election of aggressive care.

Alternate JournalJ Pain Symptom Manage
Citation Key8703
PubMed ID27720793
PubMed Central IDPMC5191953