Identifying the Factors That Facilitate or Hinder Advance Planning by Persons With Dementia

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Abstract

We performed semistructured interviews with 30 family members of patients with advanced dementia to identify the factors that facilitate or hinder advance planning by persons with dementia. All interviews were analyzed using qualitative data analysis techniques. The majority (77%) of family members reported that their relative had some form of written advance directive, and at least half reported previous discussions about health care preferences (57%), living situation or placement issues (50%), and finances or estate planning (60%) with the patient. Family members reported some themes that prompted planning and others that were barriers to planning. Events that most often triggered planning were medical, living situation, or financial issues associated with a friend or family member of the patient (57%). Barriers to planning included both passive and active avoidance. The most common form of passive avoidance was not realizing the importance of planning until it was too late to have the discussion (63%). The most common form of active avoidance was avoiding the discussion (53%). These data suggest potentially remediable strategies to address barriers to advance planning discussions.

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