Attitudes regarding advance directives among patients in pulmonary rehabilitation

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1996 Dec;154(6 Pt 1):1735-40. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.154.6.8970363.


We performed a cross-sectional, descriptive questionnaire study in two pulmonary rehabilitation programs to assess: (1) attitudes of 105 subjects with chronic lung conditions about end-of-life decision-making; (2) the determinants of these attitudes; and (3) patient acceptance of rehabilitation programs as foci for education about advance directives (ADs). We found that 99 of the 105 subjects (94.3%) had health worries, the most common of which was fear of increasing dyspnea (33.3%). Although 93.8% had opinions about intubation, less than 42% had completed an AD. Most subjects wanted information about ADs (88.6%) and life-support (68.6%); pulmonary rehabilitation programs, lawyers, and physicians were preferred sources for AD information. Although 98.9% of the patients wanted patient-physician AD discussions, only 19.0% had such discussions, only 15.2% had discussed life-support, and only 14.3% thought that their physicians understood their end-of-life wishes. Subject willingness to undergo intubation varied with baseline health, likelihood of survival, and anticipated health following extubation. We conclude that patients in pulmonary rehabilitation programs desire more information about end-of-life issues than is currently provided by physicians. They regard pulmonary rehabilitation educators as valuable sources of AD education.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health
  • Attitude*
  • Communication
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Living Wills / psychology*
  • Lung Diseases / psychology
  • Lung Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Male
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Surveys and Questionnaires