Race, Ethnicity Affect End-of-Life Care Preferences

Holly G. Prigerson, Ph.D. Irving Sherwood Wright Professor in Geriatrics Professor of Sociology in Medicine Director, Center for Research on End of Life Care Weill Cornell Medical College 1404 Baker Pavilion, New York Presbyterian Hospital New York City, New York 10065MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Holly G. Prigerson, Ph.D.
Irving Sherwood Wright Professor in Geriatrics
Professor of Sociology in Medicine
Director, Center for Research on End of Life Care
Weill Cornell Medical College
New York Presbyterian Hospital  New York City, New York 10065

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Prigerson: That there are strikingly different preferences for end-of-life care based on a patient’s race/ethnicity and in rates of do not resuscitate order completion.  Regardless of what those preferences are, however, they significantly influence the likelihood of completing a do not resuscitate order (dnr) across racial/ethnic groups.

Medical Research: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Prigerson: Yes in that we expected the white patient preferences to predict do not resuscitate order completion based on our prior work, but were encouraged by the impact of the black and latino patient preferences predicting do not resuscitate order completion.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Prigerson: Patients, regardless of race, are influencing end of life care and they need to have informed preferences to make informed medical decisions as they confront death.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Prigerson: Examining ways to reduce racial/ethnic disparities in end-of-life care care by working to communicate more effectively with patients of all backgrounds so they can make informed choices. Research needs to figure out ways to intervene to improve end-of-life communication and outcomes.

Citation:
Garrido, M. M., Harrington, S. T. and Prigerson, H. G. (2014), End-of-life treatment preferences: A key to reducing ethnic/racial disparities in advance care planning?. Cancer. doi: 10.1002/cncr.28970

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