Friday, September 30, 2011

Something to Talk About

A recent study about end-of-life discussions in the Journal of Hospital Medicine is receiving some popular media attention. The study followed 365 patients in three separate hospitals from 2003 to 2009 who had a low or medium risk of dying within one year. Researchers reported that there were no changes in survival rates for those who had end-of-life discussions compared to than those who did not. Similarly, there were no changes in survival rates for those who had a living will versus those who did not. From the press release:
"Our findings are reassuring. They support health care providers, who can initiate these discussions, and policy makers, who seek to reimburse these time consuming discussions," said lead researcher Stacy M. Fischer, MD of the University of Colorado School of Medicine. "Most importantly, our findings are reassuring for patients and families who desire these discussions with their health care providers."
HFA supports patients having end-of-life care discussions with their doctors early and often. For more information on advance care planning and end of life, see our website.