Reach and Impact of a Mass Media Event Among Vulnerable Patients: The Terri Schiavo Story
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It is unknown whether health-related media stories reach diverse older adults and influence advance care planning (ACP).
To determine exposure to media coverage of Terri Schiavo (TS) and its impact on ACP.
Design and Participants
Descriptive study of 117 English/Spanish-speakers, aged ≥50 years (mean 61 years) from a county hospital, interviewed six months after enrollment into an advance directive study.
We assessed whether participants had heard of TS and subject characteristics associated with exposure. We also asked whether, because of TS, subjects engaged in ACP.
Ninety-two percent reported hearing of TS. Participants with adequate literacy were more likely than those with limited literacy to report hearing of TS (100% vs. 79%, P < .001), as were participants with ≥ a high school vs. < high school education (97% vs. 82%, P = .004), and English vs. Spanish-speakers (96% vs. 85%, P = .04). Because of TS, many reported clarifying their own goals of care (61%), talking to their family/friends about ACP (66%), and wanting to complete an advance directive (37%).
Most diverse older adults had heard of TS and reported that her story activated them to engage in ACP. Media stories may provide a powerful opportunity to engage patients in ACP and develop public health campaigns.
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- Reach and Impact of a Mass Media Event Among Vulnerable Patients: The Terri Schiavo Story
Journal of General Internal Medicine
Volume 23, Issue 11 , pp 1854-1857
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Additional Links
- mass media
- public health
- advance care planning
- health literacy
- vulnerable populations
- Industry Sectors
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Division of Geriatrics, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA
- 2. San Francisco VA Medical Center, San Francisco, CA, USA
- 3. Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA
- 4. UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations, San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, CA, USA