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Improving Patient Preparedness and Confidence in Discussing Advance Directives for End-of-Life Care with Health Care Providers in the United States and Japan

John M. Friend and Dana L. Alden

Medical Decision Making, 2021, vol. 41, issue 1, 60-73

Abstract: Background The low completion rate of advance directives (ADs) has received attention in Japan and the United States, as policy makers and health care professionals face aging populations with multiple comorbidities. Among the barriers to AD planning, cultural values and attitudes appear to be particularly influential. A comparison of culturally distinct societies provides a deeper understanding of these barriers. Through such an approach, this study identifies strategies for increasing AD planning among late-middle-age Japanese and US individuals. Methods After giving informed consent for the Institutional Review Board–approved study, Japanese and US respondents (45–65 y; 50% female) without ADs completed a language-appropriate online survey. Participants were asked to review a decision aid as part of a scenario-based physician consultation regarding artificial nutrition and hydration (ANH). Hypotheses were analyzed using multigroup structural equation modeling. Results Important similarities were identified across the 2 groups. After reviewing the decision aid, both samples strongly preferred “no ANH.†Respondents who strongly valued either self-reliance or interpersonal relationships experienced greater preparedness for AD planning. In both countries, greater decision preparedness and positive death attitude predicted greater confidence to discuss care options with a provider. Finally, cultural values predicted preference for family participation: respondents with a strong interdependent self-concept desired more family involvement, whereas high independents preferred less. Conclusions Findings indicate the importance of documenting care preferences and accounting for individual differences. To increase AD adoption, providers should identify patient segments likely to benefit most from the interventions. Targeting individuals in both countries who value self-reliance and interpersonal relationships appears to be a good place to begin. Such individuals can be identified clinically through administration of validated measures used in this study.

Keywords: advance directives; attitudes; decision making; end-of-life; health care; Japan; self-construal (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:sae:medema:v:41:y:2021:i:1:p:60-73

DOI: 10.1177/0272989X20969683

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