When the end of life is near, patients and their families make care decisions that express their culture and values. This research, based on in-depth interviews with families, offers insights for health care providers.
Gather Round: Understanding How Culture Frames End-of-Life Choices for Patients and Families (1.12 MB)
Health care providers who work with patients toward the end of life are sometimes surprised by the ways patients and their families approach care decisions. Wishes for care can appear unconnected to the facts of the patient's condition and often change over time.
This research — based on in-depth interviews with families — examines the process of learning and decisionmaking that people often experience as they or their loved ones approach the end of life. It juxtaposes those processes with the medical framework generally used by health care providers. The aim is for genuine, shared decisionmaking that results in effective, patient-centered care.
During the research, three insights emerged that may be useful to providers as they work with patients and families:
For each of these research findings, the authors discuss ways that health care providers can work effectively with patients and families as they go through these experiences.
The complete report is available as a Document Download.