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AJOB Primary Research.

Medical Decisions Made by Surrogates for Persons with Advanced Dementia Within Weeks or Months of Death

Background: Surrogates make all medical decisions for persons with advanced dementia. This study describes the types of medical decisions that surrogates faced prior to the person’s death and their perceived difficulty and satisfaction with those decisions. Methods: Seventy-six surrogates of nursing home residents meeting hospice criteria for dementia were followed longitudinally and interviewed following the death of the person with dementia. Results: The most common decisions made were related to transfer to hospital, diagnostic testing, and placement of a feeding tube. Surrogates perceived decisions to not treat to be more difficult than decisions to treat. Conclusions: Surrogates frequently are faced with making medical decisions for persons with advanced dementia near the end of life. Clinicians can help surrogates by acknowledging the difficulty of making decisions to not treat.

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Volume 2, Issue 4
October 2011

Target Articles.

An Empirical Ethics Agenda for Psychiatric Research Involving Prisoners Paul P. Christopher, Philip J. Candilis, Josiah D. Rich & Charles W. Lidz