Advance Directive and End-of-Life Care Preferences Among Nursing Home Residents in Wuhan, China: A Cross-Sectional Study

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 2014, 15 (10), pp. 751 - 756
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© 2014 AMDA - The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine. Objectives: To describe Chinese nursing home residents' knowledge of advance directive (AD) and end-of-life care preferences and to explore the predictors of their preference for AD. Design: Population-based cross-sectional survey. Settings: Nursing homes (n= 31) in Wuhan, Mainland Southern China. Participants: Cognitively intact nursing home residents (n= 467) older than 60 years. Measures: Face-to-face questionnaire interviews were used to collect information on demographics, chronic diseases, life-sustaining treatment, AD, and other end-of-life care preferences. Results: Most (95.3%) had never heard of AD, and fewer than one-third (31.5%) preferred to make an AD. More than half (52.5%) would receive life-sustaining treatment if they sustained a life-threatening condition. Fewer than one-half (43.3%) chose doctors as the surrogate decision maker about life-sustaining treatment, whereas most (78.8%) nominated their eldest son or daughter as their proxy. More than half (58.2%) wanted to live and die in their present nursing homes. The significant independent predictors of AD preference included having heard of AD before (odds ratio [OR] 9.323), having definite answers of receiving (OR 3.433) or rejecting (OR 2.530) life-sustaining treatment, and higher Cumulative Illness Rating Scale score (OR 1.098). Conclusions: Most nursing home residents did not know about AD, and nearly one-third showed positive attitudes toward it. AD should be promoted in mainland China. Education of residents, the proxy decision maker, and nursing home staff on AD is very important. Necessary policy support, legislation, or practice guidelines about AD should be made with flexibility to respect nursing home residents' rights in mainland China.
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