From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.
The patient is terminal; the end is drawing near. In those last days, what are the patient’s wishes? Talking about such things is hard even for a doctor. But a study by Alexi Wright at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute finds this conversation can improve those last days.
“Patients who had these discussions with their doctors were three times less likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit, four times less likely to be put on a breathing machine, six times less likely to be resuscitated in their last week life.” (12 seconds)
Wright says caregivers and relatives benefit, too. She says they have a smoother transition into bereavement without seeing their loved one in additional stress.
The study in the Journal of American Medical Association was supported by the National Institutes of Health.
Learn more at hhs.gov.
HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.
Last revised: May 7, 2011