Rationale: Studies identify common factors important for a "good death." However, it is important for clinicians to individualize end-of-life care by eliciting patients' preferences. We sought to determine preferences for death and dying among veterans with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by performing a cross-sectional study. Participants (n = 376) completed a preferences about death and dying questionnaire.
Results: Common themes ranked as most important by veterans include health care costs (86.6%) and avoiding strain on loved ones (78.8%). Unique items include being unafraid of dying (67.1%) and having discussed your treatment preferences with your clinician (59.3%).
Conclusion: Preferences for death and dying are consistent among individuals with life-limiting illness, thus should be incorporated as core components in all end-of-life care planning. We identified unique preferences important to patients with COPD. This study suggests that clinicians need to engage in end-of-life discussions to learn about individual preferences to improve the patients' dying experience.
Keywords: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; death and dying; end-of-life communication; patient preferences.