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Korean J Adult Nurs. 2018 Oct;30(5):527-535. English. Original Article. https://doi.org/10.7475/kjan.2018.30.5.527
Cheon J .
Assistant Professor, College of Nursing, Sungshin Women's University, Seoul, Korea. jcheon@sungshin.ac.kr
Abstract

Purpose

As advanced medical care has resulted in the unintended consequence of prolonging deaths, there is a growing interest in the decision to withhold life-sustaining treatments. The purpose of this study was to determine factors associated with the decision to withhold life-sustaining treatments in middle-aged and older adults who die in hospital in the United States.

Methods

This cross-sectional correlational study conducted secondary analysis of 2000–2012 exit interview data from the Health and Retirement Study. Adults aged 50 and older who died in hospital and who had made a decision regarding life-sustaining treatments were included. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify factors related to the decision to withhold life-sustaining treatments.

Results

Among 1,412 adults, the prevalence of the decision to withhold life-sustaining treatments was 61.1%. Significant factors associated with the decision to withhold life-sustaining treatments were being African American (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR]=0.50, 95% Confidential Interval [CI]=0.30~0.86), Catholic (AOR=0.5, 95% CI=0.32~0.93), having at least one private insurance policy (AOR=1.40, 95% CI=1.02~1.92), having a living will (AOR=1.71, 95% CI=1.04~2.83), and having discussed end-of-life care with someone (AOR=1.810, 95% CI=1.25~2.62).

Conclusion

Differences in race and religious affiliation should be considered when older adults, family members, and health care providers make decisions regarding life-sustaining treatments at the end-of-life. Also, health insurance coverage for advance care planning makes it easier for people to discuss life-sustaining treatments with health care providers.

Copyright © 2019. Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors.