Background: Most patients and families do not want invasive life-sustaining procedures when recovery is unlikely. We compared the clinical features of advance directives (ADs) of patients with and without cancer.
Methods: The ADs were obtained from retrospectively reviewing electronic medical records of 699 consecutive patients who died from April 2011 to July 2012.
Results: Patients with cancer were more likely to have written ADs: 265 (85.8%) patients with cancer and 277 (71.0%) noncancer patients (P < .001). Significantly more noncancer patients were in the intensive care unit, indicating that they had received or were receiving invasive treatments. Noncancer patients requested life-sustaining treatment more frequently but symptom control less frequently than patients with cancer.
Conclusion: Advance care planning in patients with incurable, noncancer disease is important to guarantee patient autonomy at the end of life.
Keywords: advance care planning; advance directives; cancer; end-of-life care; hospice; palliative care.
© The Author(s) 2014.