End-of-Life Treatment Preferences Among Older Adults: A Nurse Practitioner Initiated Intervention

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PurposeTo explore end-of-life treatment preferences (ELTP) among older adults and to test the impact of a nurse practitioner (NP) initiated intervention to facilitate the completion of ELTPs.Data SourcesA descriptive study including 135 older adults living in a continuing care retirement community.ConclusionsThe findings in this study suggest that the majority of older adults do not want life sustaining interventions at the end of life, but are willing to accept interventions that will keep them comfortable. ELTP can, however, change over time. An NP-initiated teaching intervention about advance directives and ELTP significantly increased the number of individuals who completed advance directive forms.Implications for PracticeWith the advancement of medical technology, various life-sustaining treatments are available at the end of life. Older adults should be encouraged to establish their ELTPs while they are physically and mentally able to do so. Health care providers should initiate discussions about ELTP at regular intervals (yearly) to assist older adults in participating in decisions about their end-of-life care.

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