Elderly patients’ understanding of advance directives

Sue Zronek, Barbara Daly, Hae Ok Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Growing evidence suggests that advance directives (ADs) are often ineffective. Further explanation of how these documents are viewed by the public, the expectations of how decisions about treatment are made, and, in particular, patients’ understanding of how ADs are actually used in the clinical setting, are warranted. This article details a descriptive study in which patients - were int e rviewed, during hospital stays, about their beliefs and understanding of advanced directives, as well as the processes used in completing them. The study was undertaken in a community hospital located in a rural area in the Midioest. Findings show that many patients were able to clearly articulate what an AD means in terms of making their choices known. However, misconceptions were found in patients’ understanding of ADs and only 467r reported discussing their ADs with a physician. Strategies for effective implementation of education programs related to ADs are detailed here.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-28
Number of pages6
JournalJONA's Healthcare Law, Ethics, and Regulation
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health Policy
  • Law


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