The Unintended Consequences Of Avoiding End Of Life Planning

2011-09-29 | |
Last updated: 2011-09-29

Treatment Is Not All That Terminally Ill Patients Want

One study by members of the Canadian Researchers End-of-Life Network (CARENET) attempted to determine from patients what was important to them. From the results, the researchers found that 56% of terminally ill patients rated “Not to be kept alive on life support when there is little hope for a meaningful recovery” as extremely important. The study also found 44% of patients indicated “That information about your disease be communicated to you by your doctor in an honest manner” as extremely important.

These statistics indicate that most patients have a threshold for the amount of treatment they are willing to receive. At some point, when the treatment offers no real benefit, they realize that it is better to forego treatments and make the best of their remaining time alive.

From these statistics it also becomes apparent that roughly half of patients really want to know what to expect with regard to their future health so that they can be as prepared as possible. What this means is that doctors who avoid talking about end of life issues are doing their patients a great disservice.


Talking about dying and planning for it are activities that we frequently avoid when we are healthy. The same is true even for those who terminally ill. Unfortunately, the tendency of both patients and doctors alike to avoid the subject often yields outcomes for patients that are less than ideal, making the dying process even more difficult than it already is. To avoid this, it is important that both physicians and those receiving treatment make an effort to discuss and plan for end of life

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Category: General Health, Healthcare Politics, Medical Treatment

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