cuidadospaliativosA recent Canadian study found that doctors often missed important points when discussing with terminal patients and their families about end-of life care.

The study consisted in asking more than 200 senior Canadians hospitalized with serious diseases and 205 of their family members about how important they consider 11 recommended elements of end-of-life care, and their care satisfaction level.

According with the patients and their families, the 5 most important end-of-life issues that should be discussed are: care preferences in the event of life-threatening illness; patient values; prognosis of illness; fears and concerns; and additional questions regarding care.

The study, published in the Nov. 3 issue of CMAJ, showed that doctors often didn’t discuss these issues. Interviewees reported an average of 1.4 of the 11 recommended elements of end-of-life care had been discussed with them during the first days after hospitalization.

The questionnaires showed that there was a direct relation between interviewees’ care satisfaction level and the number of elements of end-of-life care reported.

“Our findings could be used to identify important opportunities to improve end-of-life communication and decision-making in the hospital setting,” study lead author Dr. John You, associate professor of medicine, and clinical epidemiology and biostatistics at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, said in a journal news release.

Through: Health Library