Apr 15, 2014
ANCHOR LEAD: DO YOU HAVE ADVANCE DIRECTIVES IN PLACE? ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Many people avoid writing advance directives for their medical care at the end of life, but then become cognitively impaired and cannot do so, with the consequence
of needless and often painful interventions as they are dying, a Johns Hopkins study led by Lauren Hirsch Nicholas has found.
NICHOLAS: We really need to be doing more at the earlier signs of cognitive impairment to get people to start preparing to potentially need a surrogate decision
maker. In our data only about 30% of the severe patients had a written advance directive in place. :18
Nicholas says her study points out that this is not just an individual concern but one that society must address as such futile care is also expensive.
NICHOLAS: Among the severe dementia patients who remain in the community having an advance directive was associated with reductions in spending of about
$11,500 in the last six months of life, per person. :15
At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.