End-of-life communication, comfort, and engagement among middle-aged and older individuals with families in the United States
Objective: Drawing from the family communication patterns theory and family life cycle theory, this study examined predictors for middle-aged (40 to 59 years old) and older (60 to 79 years old) individuals’ comfort level and actual engagement in communication about their EoL wishes with their families, specifically with their spouse and child(ren).
Background: Communicating about end-of-life (EoL) wishes is not easy for many, even though scholars recommend clarifying and communicating EoL wishes with family members well before one is near death. People are not always well educated or informed about their EoL care options and wishes, do not always know what an AD entails, how an AD works, or how to communicate effectively about advance care planning. The discussion of one’s EoL wishes is beneficial, not only for improving the overall care and well-being of a patient, but also for their family and caretakers.
Method: A total of 189 married individuals between the ages of 40 and 80 with one or more child(ren) participated in a survey that examined the clarity of their EoL wishes, knowledge of their EoL issues, health status, and the two dimensions of their family communication environment.
Conclusion: The current study indicates that an open family communication climate, knowledge of EoL issues, clarity of EoL wishes, and age are strong predictors for individuals’ engagement in EoL communication among their family.
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