End-of-life care is often hampered by physicians’ lack of knowledge of patient preferences. Fear of death can cause patients and their families to avoid discussing a person’s priorities and wishes; doctors, without this knowledge, may focus on providing all possible care—including treatments that the patient may not want; this “discordant care” can negatively affect their quality of life, cause them to endure pain, or cause them to die in an unwanted location. A study led by David Glass, PhD, a KPSOM lecturer in Health Systems Sciences and a research scientist with Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research and Evaluation, and co-authored by Dr. Michael Kanter, KSPOM Chair of Clinical Science, showed that in cases where patients made their wishes known to loved ones, those wishes were satisfactorily carried out by physicians 90 percent of the time.
From JAMA Network:
The challenges of end-of-life care
When doctors know a patient’s preferences, they can honor their wishes with the appropriate treatment, study shows