Facing Death: A Critical Analysis of Advance Care Planning in the United States

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Abstract

Studies have shown that advanced care planning improves communication and reduces suffering for patients and their bereaved caregivers. Despite this knowledge, the rates of advance care plans are low and physicians, as the primary gatekeepers, have made little progress in improving their rates. Through the lens of critical social theory, we examine these forces and identify the ideologies, assumptions, and social structures that curtail completion of advanced care plans such as Preserving Life, Ageism, Paternalism, and Market-Driven Healthcare System. A critical discourse provides suggestions to eliminate oppressive ideologies that act as barriers to advanced care planning.

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