Differences by Race, Religiosity, and Mental Health in Preferences for Life-Prolonging Treatment Among Medicare Beneficiaries
Patient preferences ought to guide clinical decision-making, particularly in serious illnesses where disease-directed therapies are not always effective and may cause additional suffering. Yet, clinicians commonly struggle to engage seriously ill patients and their families in conversations about treatment preferences,1 and may leave these conversations still unaware of patients’ wishes.2 When compared to Whites, African Americans may have different end-of-life (EOL) care preferences, which may impact the degree to which they are honored.3 We lack understanding about how widespread differences in preferences are. Better population-level data on patient preferences may help prepare clinicians for such discussions about goals of care.
We used the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS) to assess predictors of EOL treatment preference in two hypothetical scenarios.4NHATS, a longitudinal cohort study of a nationally representative sample of Medicare...
The authors thank Dr. Simo Goshev of IQSS Harvard University for statistical support.
The authors received funding for this project through the Sojourns Scholars Program to Dr. Sanders from the Cambia Health Foundation, as well as the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine Research Scholars Program.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they do not have a conflict of interest.
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