Patient and physician roles in end-of-life decision making

J Gen Intern Med. 1998 Jan;13(1):43-5. doi: 10.1046/j.1525-1497.1998.00008.x.


This study is a cross-sectional descriptive survey of randomly selected primary care patients and physicians regarding patient, physician, and family roles in end-of-life decision making. The subjects included 329 adult outpatients and 272 practicing physicians. Physicians were more likely than patients to believe the patient alone was responsible for making end-of-life decisions. Patients were more likely than physicians to believe the physician should provide a recommendation in addition to facts to help the patient make end-of-life decisions. We conclude that patients prefer a more active role for physicians in both decision making and discussion of end-of-life care than do physicians themselves.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Decision Making*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Preference / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physician's Role*
  • Primary Health Care
  • Terminal Care*
  • United States
  • Young Adult