Advance directives in geriatric medicine

Bruna Mota Machado Gomes Lorena Araújo Salomão Aratti Cândido Simões Bárbara Otoni Rebouças Luciana Dadalto Maira Tonidandel Barbosa About the authors

Abstract

Advance directives represent the decisions about medical care and treatment that a patient wishes to receive, if unable to express their will. We evaluated the knowledge of elderly caregivers in a geriatric outpatient clinic (n=66), lecturers (n=60) and medical students (n=72) regarding these directives, the intention to create the document, and the conduct during this situation. The results show that only 20% of the participants knew, or at least have an idea of, what these directives are. The majority of terminally ill patients (72%) preferred to die at home, receiving palliative care; 32% preferred dying in a hospital; and 45% agreed to be taken to an intensive care unit. Only 40% opt for this expression of will, even after explanations. More than half (56%) trust that medical teams will respect their decisions, and 83% trust their family members. It is concluded that the subject should be discussed more in society, especially in the fields of teaching and health care.

Advance directives; Aged; Personal autonomy; Palliative care; Death

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