A new online tool serves cancer patients to create their own death plan; this end of life planning tool will allow patients to decide on their final moments. Planning Your Medical Future hasn’t shown any signs of psychological damage, depression or increased anxiety. The end of life planning tool, will educate and allow cancer patients to decide their final moments.
When asking the doctor’s opinion, whether patients should be informed about final stages of their lives, doctors gave the same answer: that it is not appropriate to have this discussion with the patients. The reasons are psychological, they feared that end of life planning, would make them depressed and anxious.
Lead author Dr. Michael J. Green of the humanities and medicine departments at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania started a study in order to see if these suppositions were true.
They created Making Your Wishes Known: Planning Your Medical Future, an audio and video interactive decision aid. The plan is available online and it contains educational modules on medical conditions that can result in the incapacity of taking decisions, but also treatments introduced in situations of life and death. Patients can make their own plan by choosing a spokesperson, set priorities, treatment options, and create printed document containing all their last wishes.
Researchers have made two groups of 100 persons each. All of the members were advanced cancer patients with the life expectancy of two year or less. One group used the online planning care and the other the state approved form and materials from the American Hospital Association. The group who used the online tool spent around 70 minutes on their planning while the other group needed 26 minutes.
Researchers measured the patient’s anxiety levels before and after the study and also estimated their hopefulness and hopelessness trough the questionnaire. None of the groups showed an increase or decrease of hope.
Anxiety levels had a slight decrease for the online tool group and stayed the same for the other group. Self determination and knowledge of advanced care planning appeared to have raised for both groups.
Most of the patients fear relates to the uncertainty of what’s going to happen, being a burden for others, receiving the wrong treatment.
People who are on their terminal cancer stage, are already thinking about the end, so researchers believe there would be no reason to have an informative conversation with them and let them decide.
Image Source: Honoring Choices