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The Gerontologist, Vol 38, Issue 2 217-223, Copyright © 1998 by The Gerontological Society of America


Stability of preferences for treatment among nursing home residents

JT Berger and D Majerovitz
Winthrop-University Hospital, Mineola, New York 11501, USA. [email protected]

This study assessed the stability of nursing home residents' preferences for medical treatments. Thirty-seven nondemented, nondepressed residents were surveyed serially over a six-month period. Preferences were elicited for CPR, i.v. antibiotics, mechanical ventilation, and artificial nutrition. Subjects preferred more treatment for their current health concerns than for all hypothetical conditions (p = .001). Subjects disvalued indefinite artificial nutrition and mechanical ventilation compared to time-limited trials (p < .001). All preference changes were toward less intervention; residents preferred limited treatment. Most preferences remained stable. Residents clearly distinguished between time-limited and indefinite treatment, desired i.v. antibiotics and limited mechanical ventilation, and rejected most other treatments.

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