Breaking News
July 23, 2018 - Vaxart Announces Publication of the Phase 1 Results of its Oral Norovirus Tablet Vaccine in Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight
July 23, 2018 - Joslin researchers report excessive fetal growth despite well-controlled type 1 diabetes
July 23, 2018 - Former inmates more likely to die of opioid overdose after prison release
July 23, 2018 - Doctors’ ‘gut feelings’ play key role in medical decision making, finds study
July 23, 2018 - Tooth enamel that regrows? Researcher says revolutionary gel could make it possible
July 23, 2018 - ECU researchers develop world’s first blood test that detects melanoma in its early stages
July 23, 2018 - Researchers explore future of houseplants as functional sirens of home health
July 23, 2018 - No Outcome Differences Based on Anesthesia Team Make-Up
July 23, 2018 - Getting to the heart of congenital cardiac defects
July 23, 2018 - Healthy behaviors are not effective in preventing gestational diabetes in obese women
July 23, 2018 - Top of Teachers’ To-Do List: Focus on the Positives
July 23, 2018 - LDL quality is a novel, modifiable cardiovascular risk marker
July 22, 2018 - Researchers identify enzyme as potential new drug target for blood disorders
July 22, 2018 - Research shows that neurons can encode more than one signal at a time
July 22, 2018 - Exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk of stillbirth
July 22, 2018 - Skin conditions by the numbers
July 22, 2018 - Brain tumour chemotherapy now available to even more NHS patients
July 22, 2018 - Researchers find mugwort pollen as major source of airborne endotoxins
July 22, 2018 - Occupational safety and health at workplace
July 22, 2018 - Pfizer And Lilly Announce Positive Top-Line Results From Phase 3 Trial Of Tanezumab For The Treatment Of Osteoarthritis (OA) Pain
July 22, 2018 - Early supper associated with lower risk of breast and prostate cancer
July 22, 2018 - Survey results identify major inequalities in acute stroke treatment across Europe
July 22, 2018 - Researchers discover promising treatment for genetic form of autism spectrum disorder
July 22, 2018 - Prenatal Depression More Common in Young Moms Today
July 22, 2018 - What helps adults with autism get and keep a job?
July 22, 2018 - Pediatric NEXUS Head CT DI guides selective imaging decisions in blunt trauma patients
July 22, 2018 - Novel tool predicts genes that cause disease due to production of truncated proteins
July 22, 2018 - AHA: Vaping Tied to Blood Clots — in Mice
July 22, 2018 - Study finds therapy dogs effective in reducing symptoms of ADHD
July 22, 2018 - Scientists find reason why malarial parasites are faster than immune cells
July 22, 2018 - Researchers gain more insight into how FUS protein causes ALS and FTLD
July 22, 2018 - Frequency of joint replacements halved in rheumatoid arthritis patients between 1997-2010
July 22, 2018 - QUT researcher highlights growing impact of non-prescription antibiotics supply in pharmacies
July 22, 2018 - UK health communication researcher seeks solutions for disposing leftover medicine
July 22, 2018 - Pfizer Initiates Pivotal Phase 3 Program for Investigational Hemophilia B Gene Therapy Fidanacogene Elaparvovec
July 22, 2018 - Mutation discovered to protect against Alzheimer’s disease in mice
July 22, 2018 - Researchers reveal how patients in urban areas develop multiple, long-term conditions
July 22, 2018 - Replacing conventional cancer treatment with complementary therapy linked to increased risk of death
July 22, 2018 - Study uncovers molecular key for delaying progression of multiple sclerosis
July 22, 2018 - Availability of athletic trainer in high school reduces injury rates in girls’ sports, shows study
July 22, 2018 - FDA Approves Krintafel (tafenoquine) for the Radical Cure of Plasmodium vivax Malaria
July 22, 2018 - Novel nuclear medicine probe will help assess new drugs for neurodegenerative diseases
July 22, 2018 - Physical activity even during exposure to air pollution can reduce risk of heart attack
July 22, 2018 - Scientists discover protein regulator of myelin production
July 22, 2018 - Sleep disturbances associated with higher dementia risk
July 22, 2018 - Scientists move one step further in developing eye drops to treat age-related macular degeneration
July 22, 2018 - Five-Year Stroke Rates Lower After PCI Versus CABG
July 21, 2018 - Alopecia areata – Genetics Home Reference
July 21, 2018 - Study identifies overdose risk factors in youth with substance use disorders
July 21, 2018 - Drug in clinical trials for Parkinson’s disease offers hope for treating heart failure
July 21, 2018 - Coupling free malaria tests with diagnosis-dependent vouchers can improve rational use of ACTs
July 21, 2018 - Sweetness depends on molecular interactions between specific sugars and water in saliva
July 21, 2018 - Muscle fitness is strongly associated with improved rate of ageing in the brain
July 21, 2018 - Resetting E-Prescriptions for Opioids Helps Curb Use: Study
July 21, 2018 - Overuse of antibiotics not what the doctor ordered
July 21, 2018 - Bundled-payment system did not lower costs for serious medical conditions, shows study
July 21, 2018 - Therapy dogs found to be effective in reducing ADHD symptoms in children
July 21, 2018 - Could rotating multiple therapists better treat PTSD patients?
July 21, 2018 - Binge drinking impairs working memory in adolescent brain
July 21, 2018 - Dying at home could be beneficial for terminally ill cancer patients and their relatives
July 21, 2018 - Researchers identify subtypes of retinal ganglion cells using single-cell RNA sequencing
July 21, 2018 - Study uncovers opportunities to reduce death by suicide among cancer patients
July 21, 2018 - Genetic sequencing reveals new clues to aggressiveness of prostate cancer
July 21, 2018 - BioSight Launches a Phase 2b Clinical Trial of BST-236 as a First-Line Treatment of Acute Myeloid Leukemia
July 21, 2018 - First major study comparing robotic to open surgery published in The Lancet
July 21, 2018 - ADHD medications may fail to improve cognition in healthy college students, study shows
July 21, 2018 - Intervention program that includes a personalized app could benefit teens with suicidal thoughts
July 21, 2018 - Researchers identify new compound that protects against neurodegeneration
July 21, 2018 - Gene therapy may hold potential to treat people with spinal cord injuries
July 21, 2018 - FDA Approves Nivestym (filgrastim-aafi), a Biosimilar to Neupogen
July 21, 2018 - Surgeons have substantial impact on genetic testing in breast cancer patients who need it
July 21, 2018 - Species diversity can have positive and negative impacts on disease transmission
July 21, 2018 - Genome research suggests presence of enteric fever in medieval Europe
July 21, 2018 - Risk of Sensory Deficits Drops With Rising Gestational Age
July 21, 2018 - Mum’s sleep matters—the effect of sleep on an unborn baby
July 21, 2018 - UC San Diego researchers awarded two grants for investigating stem cell-based therapies
July 21, 2018 - Cellular ‘garbage disposal’ may actually work on some of the proteins to neuronal development
July 21, 2018 - More Pregnant Women Having Heart Attacks
July 21, 2018 - Acne Breakouts | NIH News in Health
July 21, 2018 - Change health messaging to focus on potential impact to help stop the next pandemic
Americans avoid planning for serious illness

Americans avoid planning for serious illness

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

“I’ll deal with it tomorrow. The perpetual tomorrow.”

That’s what one person told a pollster, encapsulating how Americans avoid planning ahead for serious illness and death.

While the vast majority of Americans say it’s important to write down their medical wishes in case they become seriously ill, only a third have done so, according to the poll, released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.)

When adults with serious illness don’t write down their wishes, family members are much less likely to know exactly what their loved one would want, and the adults themselves are less likely to feel their wishes are closely followed, the poll found.

The poll surveyed a representative sample of 2,040 American adults by phone, including 998 with direct experience of serious illness in the family.

Americans 65 and older are more prepared than younger Americans but, still, only 58 percent in that age group have a written document outlining their medical wishes in case of serious illness, and 67 percent have documented who they want to make medical decisions on their behalf if they become incapacitated, the poll found.

The top reason people gave for avoiding these tasks is that “there are too many other things to worry about right now.”

The poll identifies differences across racial and ethnic groups:

Black adults 65 and older were far less likely than white and Hispanic counterparts to have written down their medical wishes.

Black and Hispanic adults were more likely than whites to cite “don’t want to think about sickness and death” as a major reason they didn’t document their wishes.

The poll also highlights challenges faced by seriously ill adults and their families. A seriously ill adult is defined as someone 65 or older who has a chronic condition, such as diabetes, asthma or heart disease, and also has functional limitations, such as difficulty eating, dressing or using the toilet. The findings include:

  • About half of adults with serious illness had trouble understanding instructions for medications and medical care in the previous year.
  • One in five family caregivers said no one can give them a break if they need it.
  • About a third of family caregivers said they did not receive any training on how to move their loved one safely, recognize signs of pain or distress, or administer medications.

“The one thing I would say, for my family members, I was able to show them how to wash hair, how to change the bed with the person in it, those things,” one caregiver told pollsters. “But it would have been so helpful if the hospital, community center, anybody, had offered some basic classes.”

KHN’s coverage of end-of-life and serious illness issues is supported by The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.


Kaiser Health NewsThis article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles