Stability Over Time in the Preferences of Older Persons for Life-Sustaining Treatment
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- Barrio-Cantalejo, I.M., Simón-Lorda, P., Molina-Ruiz, A. et al. Bioethical Inquiry (2013) 10: 103. doi:10.1007/s11673-012-9417-4
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Objective: To measure the stability of life-sustaining treatment preferences amongst older people and analyse the factors that influence stability. Design: Longitudinal cohort study. Setting: Primary care centres, Granada (Spain). Eighty-five persons age 65 years or older. Participants filled out a questionnaire with six contexts of illness (LSPQ-e). They had to decide whether or not to receive treatment. Participants completed the questionnaire at baseline and 18 months later. Results: 86 percent of the patients did not change preferences. Sex, age, marital status, hospitalisation, and self-perception of health and pain did not affect preferences. Morbidity and the death of a relative did. Conclusion: Stability of preferences of older persons in relation to end-of-life decisions seems to be more probable than instability. Some factors, such as the death of a relative or the increase in morbidity, can change preferences. These findings have implications for advance directives (ADs) and advance care planning.