Adolescent end of life preferences and congruence with their parents' preferences: Results of a survey of adolescents with cancer


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Abstract

Background.Little is known about how well family members accurately represent adolescents when making EOL decisions on their behalf. This study reports on surveys given to adolescents with cancer and their parents as part of a larger study facilitating advanced care discussions, as well as the results of a survey for health care providers.Procedure.Trained facilitators administered surveys orally to adolescents and families in the intervention arm of the FAmily CEntered Advance Care Planning (ACP) for Teens with Cancer (FACE-TC) study. In addition, a post-hoc survey was sent to oncology providers.Results.Seventeen adolescent/family dyads completed this survey. Seventy five percent of adolescents believed it was appropriate to discuss EOL decisions early and only 12% were not comfortable discussing death. Most preferred to be at home if dying. There were substantial areas of congruence between adolescents and their surrogates, but lower agreement on the importance of dying a natural death, dying at home and “wanting to know if I were dying.” Among providers, 83% felt their patients' participation in the study was helpful to the patients and 78% felt it was helpful to them as providers.Conclusions.Adolescents with cancer were comfortable discussing EOL, and the majority preferred to talk about EOL issues before they are facing EOL. There were substantive areas of agreement between adolescents and their surrogates, but important facets of adolescents' EOL wishes were not known by their families, reinforcing the importance of eliciting individual preferences and engaging dyads so parents can understand their children's wishes. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2015;62:710–714. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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