Young Adults’ Perspectives on Advance Care Planning

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Abstract

Objective:

To describe the knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of young adults regarding advance care planning (ACP).

Methods:

A cross-sectional sample of young adults (N = 310) from a single metropolitan university during September to November 2016 completed an online survey about their knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors regarding ACP. Descriptive statistics and correlation tests were conducted.

Results:

Young adults lacked familiarity and knowledge regarding ACP. Those who were most familiar with ACP terminology were more likely to be older, female, enrolled in a graduate program, and employed full time. Although the majority of respondents had positive attitudes and beliefs about ACP, only one-third had talked with their family/loved ones about their wishes for end-of-life care.

Discussion:

Our study findings suggest a strong need to inform and engage young adults in ACP and end-of-life care discussions. As young adults are likely to become a caregiver for an aging family member, they can have an important role in initiating and facilitating conversations with loved ones and be instrumental in ACP for older adults.

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