Nowadays growing concern over providing the best possible end-of-life care for geriatric patients has been raised worldwide. It is not uncommon that different perspectives of patients, families and caring physicians may result in unwanted suffering of dying patients. Learning the differences might lead to appropriate interventions and bring about better quality of care for older patients toward the end of life.
We conducted a survey on older patients and physicians at a university hospital inThailand. We elicited opinions on end-of-life care by applying 5-category likert scale, 13-situation-based questionnaire. Older people were asked to rate their agreement with those items while physicians were enquired to rate their opinions on what they believed older people would have thought. We also enquired participants to rank the most important aspects concerning good death.
Nearly 90% of physicians believed that older people would wish to be involved in decision-making and completing unfinished business while only 70% elderly really did. Being mentally aware was rated by older patients at much higher proportion than physicians. More importantly, one-fourth of older patient did not wish to die at home while only 6% of physician believed so. The only factor associated with not willing to pass away at home among these two groups after adjusted in multivariate analysis was sex. When it came to ranking the most important aspect, older patients place it on not to prolong suffering while this was not ranked on the top-three items by physicians.
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