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Study Says End-of-Life Conversations Make a Difference

Photo Credit: National Institute on Aging

According to the findings of Conversation Project’s 2018 national survey, while 92 percent of Americans say it’s important to discuss their wishes for end-of-life care, only 32 percent have these conversations. Ninety five percent of the respondents say they would be willing to talk about their wishes, and 53 percent even say they’d be relieved to discuss it.

According to a recent issue of JAMDA, research findings reveal that End-of-Life (EOL) sharing is good for you.  EOL conversations enhance palliative care and quality-of-life efforts for nursing home residents, says the reported study.

In an article in JAMDA’s special EOL section, “Association Between End-of-Life Conversations in Nursing Homes and End-of-Life Care Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis,” the authors noted that they reviewed articles in the scientific/medical literature focusing on the impact of EOL conversations on patient outcomes. They identified relevant studies showing that EOL conversations between health care professionals and family members were positively associated with family decisions to limit or withdraw life-sustaining treatments, fewer in-hospital deaths, fewer unplanned hospital admissions, shorter lengths of hospital stays, family satisfaction with EOL care, and increased odds of receiving strong opioid analgesics in the last 24 hours of life.

Care Satisfaction Increases with Duration, Frequency of EOL

The researchers found that EOL care satisfaction increased with the duration and frequency of EOL conversations. They also concluded that “health care professionals-family EOL conversations may promote a palliative care approach in NH residents with less aggressive treatments regardless of the social, geographically and cultural contexts.”

Further the researchers also acknowledged that these discussions can be “emotionally challenging” for health care practitioners. However, they stressed that “timely, sensible communication” is necessary to ensure quality care. They also observed that a clear explanation of treatment choices by the physician “was associated with a dignified death according to families.”

This study was conducted by researchers at the Department of Biomedicine and Prevention, University of Roma Tor Vergato, Roma, Italy; Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria Citta della Salute e della Scienza di Torino, Torino, Italy; Department of Public Health and Pediatric Sciences, University of Torino; Research and Third Mission Area, University of Tornio; and Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Torino.

 

 

 

 

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