Patients' understanding and use of advance directives

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Publication Type Journal Article
School or College College of Humanities
Department Philosophy
Creator Battin, Margaret P.; Jacobson, Jay A.; Francis, Leslie P.
Other Author White, Barbara E.; Green, David J.; Kasworm, Evelyn S.
Title Patients' understanding and use of advance directives
Date 1994
Description The Patient Self-Determination Act was implemented in December 1991. Before and after its implementation, we used a structured interview of 302 randomly selected patients to determine their awareness, understanding, and use of advance directives. Implementation of the Act did not have a major effect on these. Although more than 90% of patients were aware of the living will, only about a third selected the correct definition or the correct circumstances in which it applied, and less than 20% of patients had completed one. About a third of patients were aware of a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and chose the correct definition, and about half identified the correct circumstances in which it applies; less than 10% had completed such a document. Surprisingly, patients who said they had completed advance directives did not demonstrate better understanding of these documents. Our results indicate that many patients, including some who have completed advance directives, do not fully understand them. It may be unwise to regard these documents as carefully considered, compelling statements of patients' preferences. Appropriate responses to our findings include increased public education, revising state statutes to bring them into congruence with public perception, and expanding the dialogue between physicians and patients.
Type Text
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Volume 160
Issue 3
First Page 232
Last Page 236
Language eng
Bibliographic Citation Jacobson, J. A., White, B. E., Battin, M. P., Francis, L. P., Green, D. J., & Kasworm, E. S. (1994). Patients' understanding and use of advance directives. Western Journal of Medicine, 160(3), 232-6.
Rights Management (c) BMJ Publishing Group
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 932,375 bytes
Identifier ir-main,14877
ARK ark:/87278/s64m9nr3
Setname ir_uspace
Date Created 2012-06-13
Date Modified 2021-05-06
ID 703222
Reference URL