A new study has found that more individuals today are using advance directives to document their preference for end-of-life care. The study was completed to evaluate the value of this particular aspect of estate planning. The study concluded that individuals who have advance directives usually receive care that is strongly aligned with their preferences. Maryland individuals may want to consider using advance directives as part of their own estate administration as the study supports the continuation of these methods.
Advance directives include information about medical treatment that a person wishes to receive or not receive at the end of their life. The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan. They used data from the Health and Retirement Study to conduct it. Data pertained to more than 3,700 adults who were over 60-years-old.
Researchers discovered that approximately 42.5 percent of these individuals were faced with at least one important treatment decision close to the end of their lives. However, 70 percent of these individuals lacked the ability to make these decisions because of physical or mental health deterioration. About 67 percent of these individuals had advance directives in place at the time. Researchers also found that people who had advance directives in place were more likely than others to prefer limited care or comfort care, rather than aggressive measures. Out of the cases in which patients requested comfort care, more than 97 percent of these individuals received the type of care that was consistent with these particular preferences.
They may draft living wills, durable powers of attorney, trusts and other estate planning documents.