Most Americans Don't Have Advance Directives

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About two-thirds of people in the US have not completed an advance directive.
About two-thirds of people in the US have not completed an advance directive.

HealthDay News — An estimated 2 of 3 people in the United States have not completed an advance directive, according to a review published in Health Affairs.

Kuldeep N Yadav, from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of studies published in 2011 to 2016 to examine the proportion of US adults with a completed living will, health care power of attorney, or both. Data were included for 795,909 people in 150 studies.

The researchers found that 36.7% of those in the studies had completed an advance directive, including 29.3% with living wills. Similar proportions were seen across the years studied. The proportion with advanced directives was similar for patients with chronic illness and healthy adults (38.2% and 32.7%, respectively).

"The findings provide benchmarks for gauging future policies and practices designed to motivate completion of advance directives, particularly among those people most likely to benefit from having these documents on record," the authors wrote.

Reference

Yadav KN, Gabler NB, Cooney E, et al. Approximately one in three US adults completes any type of advance directive for end-of-life care [published online July 1, 2017]. Health Aff (Milwood). doi:10.1377/hlthaff.2017.0175

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