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Attitudes Toward End of Life Care In California

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Attitudes Toward End-of-Life Care in California
Lake Research Partners, November 2006

While it’s true that Americans are living longer, there is a flip side. The aging population is grappling with new challenges, including an increasing number of chronic illnesses and a range of sensitive issues brought about by modern medicine and end-of-life medical care.

This report explores how Californians view difficult issues surrounding death and dying, including life support, end-of-life care planning, hospice care, and pain management.
Compiling results of a statewide survey and focus groups, the study finds disparate perspectives among the state’s diverse populations. It also reveals a disconnect between an individual’s end-of-life wishes and specific actions taken to ensure that those wishes are respected.

Other findings include:

  • Views on a patient’s right to die varied significantly by ethnicity, with whites far more willing to allow a loved one to die than any other ethnic group;
  • The overwhelming majority (80%) would not want to be kept alive on life support if they were in a coma with no hope of significant recovery;
  • Over a third (36%) report that they have their end-of-life wishes in writing;
  • Sixty-eight percent say that when they think about death and dying, they are “concerned” about pain and discomfort, and 39% said they were “very concerned”; and
  • Although the majority (71%) have heard of hospice care, only 32% report knowing “a lot” about it.

Visit their website to review or download complete report.

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