Background Advanced dementia (AD) is an incurable disease of the brain in which people are not able to communicate with others; however the literature shows there’s low uptake of advance care planning (ACP) among people with dementia.
Aim To conduct a national survey on older Australian’s preferences for treatment and ACP in a state of AD.
Methods A survey was distributed through an online panel (n = 1,003) to examine the above.
Results Most respondents showed a preference for comfort care (75%) or limited care (20%) rather than life-prolonging care (5%) if they required medical treatment in a state of AD. Furthermore, overall preferences for care changed significantly after reading a description of AD (p < 0.001), with preference for comfort care increasing (79%) and limited care decreasing (16%). Similarly, although <10% of respondents had previously documented ACP wishes; most wanted to in a state of AD and this preference increased significantly after reading a description of AD (p < 0.001). Preference for a written plan increased (72% pre vs. 77% post) and preferences for making an oral plan only (13% vs. 10%) and leaving all medical decisions to the family or doctor decreased (16% vs. 12%).
Discussion Older Australians prefer comfort or limited care and to have documented ACP wishes if they become seriously ill and require medical treatment in a state of AD.
Conclusion The opportunity for older Australians to complete ACP will assist to communicate their wishes in the event they become seriously ill and require medical treatment in a state of AD.
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