Objectives: To measure end-of-life (EOL) care preferences and advance care planning (ACP) in older Latinos and to examine the relationship between culture-based attitudes and extent of ACP.
Design: Cross-sectional interview.
Setting: Twenty-two senior centers in greater Los Angeles.
Participants: One hundred forty-seven Latinos aged 60 and older.
Measurements: EOL care preferences, extent of ACP, attitudes regarding patient autonomy, family-centered decision-making, trust in healthcare providers, and health and sociodemographic characteristics.
Results: If seriously ill, 84% of participants would prefer medical care focused on comfort rather than care focused on extending life, yet 47% had never discussed such preferences with their family or doctor, and 77% had no advance directive. Most participants favored family-centered decision making (64%) and limited patient autonomy (63%). Greater acculturation, education, and desire for autonomy were associated with having an advance directive (P-values <.03). Controlling for sociodemographic characteristics, greater acculturation (adjusted odds ratio (AOR)=1.6, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.1-2.4) and preferring greater autonomy (AOR=1.6, 95% CI=1.1-2.3) were independently associated with having an advance directive.
Conclusions: The majority of older Latinos studied preferred less-aggressive, comfort-focused EOL care, yet few had documented or communicated this preference. This discrepancy places older Latinos at risk of receiving high-intensity care inconsistent with their preferences.