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Hospital policy on advance directives. Do institutions ask patients about living wills?

Authors
  • McCrary, S V
  • Botkin, J R
Type
Published Article
Journal
JAMA
Publication Date
Nov 03, 1989
Volume
262
Issue
17
Pages
2411–2414
Identifiers
PMID: 2795826
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Hospitals throughout the United States were surveyed in 1988 to determine their policies on advance directives, including living wills and durable power of attorney documents. Sixty-seven percent of the 219 respondents reported some formal policy regarding advance directives. Most institutions made it the patient's responsibility to notify physicians of the existence of a directive, with only 4% of the hospitals querying the patient directly about an advance directive. State legislation on advance directives correlated positively with the drafting of a formal policy by hospitals, whereas the existence of an institutional ethics committee appeared to have no effect on whether a hospital had a formal policy on directives. The authors comment on the legal and ethical aspects of hospital policies on advance directives, and argue that all acute-care hospitals should establish a formal policy regarding directives and should ask patients upon admission if a directive has been completed.

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