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Preparing for the end of life: preferences of patients, families, physicians, and other care provide

15 Aug
According to a survey of 1,462 seriously ill patients by Karen Steinhauser and her research team at Duke University, freedom from pain is the most important priority at the end of life, followed by being at peace with God and being with loved ones. Other areas that ranked high in importance were good patient-physician communication, being prepared for death, and achieving closure. Items that were considered important by patients but less so by physicians included being mentally alert, not being a burden to others, and having time to plan funeral arrangements. Interestingly, the researchers also found that dying at home was not a priority. People don’t fear death, said Steinhauser at a press conference announcing the survey findings. They fear bad dying.

Citation: Steinhauser KE, Christakis NA, Clipp EC, McNeilly M, Grambow S, Parker J, Tulsky JA. Preparing for the end of life: preferences of patients, families, physicians, and other care providers. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 2001 Sep;22(3):727-37.

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award