Older Adults' Preferences for When and How to Discuss Life Expectancy in Primary Care

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Abstract

Introduction:

Life expectancy is important to inform a number of clinical decisions in primary care but its communication is challenging for clinicians.

Methods:

This qualitative interview study with 40 community-dwelling older adults explored their perspectives on how and when to discuss life expectancy in primary care.

Results:

Most participants did not want to discuss life expectancy longer than 1 year but were open to being offered discussion by clinicians. Suggestions included using health decline as trigger for discussion and discussing with family members instead of patient.

Discussion:

Although older adults have varied preferences for the timing and content of life expectancy discussions in primary care, it was generally acceptable for clinicians to offer the opportunity for this type of discussion.

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