More than a quarter of older Medicare beneficiaries have yet to document their advance care planning (ACP) wishes, according to a recent study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco. That leaves many people subject to receiving end of life care that they may not want and may go against their values and wishes, according to Alexander Smith, M.D., senior study author and an associate professor of medicine, geriatrics and palliative care at UCSF.

Seventy-five percent of people are unable to make some or all decisions themselves at the end of life, according to Amy Berman, senior program officer at The John A. Hartford Foundation. “They may have had conversations with their families, or with a clergy member, but the difference between that and documenting their preferences for the health care team is really significant.”

 

Berman last year shared in The Washington Post her experience living with stage IV breast cancer. “The reality is, without these [health provider] conversations, people are 100 percent guaranteed to get the care that somebody else wants them to have,” she said. “But there is no guarantee that it will be the care that they want". The issue emphasizes the need for advance care planning as it is vital for a person approaching the end of their life, however, this issue often fades from public view, “There are a lot of these stories that need to be told and there’s kind of silence around them. I think there’s more to be done,” she said.

As a reminder, The John A. Hartford Foundation will be hosting a webinar on new research on improving advance care planning (ACP). The webinar is on Thursday, November 29, 2016 at 2 pm EST. 

To register for the webinar, click here.

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