Numerous studies for decades have demonstrated that surrogates fail to make the same healthcare decisions that patients would have made for themselves if they still had capacity. But a new study in J Gen Intern Med. shows that surrogates are not even trying to perform their job consistent with its defined standards.
In “How Surrogates Decide: A Secondary Data Analysis of Decision-Making Principles Used by the Surrogates of Hospitalized Older Adults” the authors explore the principles that surrogates consider most important when making decisions for older hospitalized patients. While surrogates considered many factors, they focused more often on patient well-being than on patient preferences, in contravention of our current ethical framework.