gms | German Medical Science

27. Deutscher Krebskongress

Deutsche Krebsgesellschaft e. V.

22. - 26.03.2006, Berlin

Cancer patients´ attitudes towards advance directives differ from those of dialysis patients

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Stephan Sahm - Medizinische Klinik I, Klinik für Gastroenterologie und Onkologie, Ketteler-Krankenhaus Offenbach, Deutschland
  • R. Will - Deutsche Klinik für Diagnostik, Fachbereich Nephrologie, Wiesbaden
  • J. Böhler - Deutsche Klinik für Diagnostik, Fachbereich Nephrologie, Wiesbaden
  • B. Krumme - Deutsche Klinik für Diagnostik, Fachbereich Nephrologie, Wiesbaden
  • A. Röckel - Deutsche Klinik für Diagnostik, Fachbereich Nephrologie, Wiesbaden

27. Deutscher Krebskongress. Berlin, 22.-26.03.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. DocOP535

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Veröffentlicht: 20. März 2006

© 2006 Sahm et al.
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The legal binding nature of advance directives (AD) for medical care has not been defined in many European countries. Yet, these documents are thought to be at least useful as a clue of patients´ wishes concerning life-sustaining treatment in case they can no longer decide for themselves. Information about patients´ attitudes towards and knowledge about ADs may be usful to improve care at the end of life. Yet, persons´ attitudes towards ADs have never been compared between different groups of patients. We looked after the frequency of fulfilled ADs, intention to write one and knowledge about different types of ADs, i.e. that are legally accepted in Germany, amongst cancer patients and patients on chronic hemodialysis.

Methods: Cancer patients and patients on chronic hemodialysis were interviewed by means of a structured questionnaire. Frequency of answers were compared using chi2 -test.

Results: 100 cancer patients and 54 patients on chronic hemodialysis completed the questionnaire. Self-estimation of health state did not differ between the groups. Percentage of patients that estimate their health as tolerable or poor (as opposed to very good or good) was 65% for cancer patients and 71% for dialysis patients (p<0.44). More dialysis patients had fulfilled an AD (p< 0.057), yet more cancer patients expressed the intention to write one (p<0.047). Level of information about types of AD did not differ between the groups, yet cancer patients were more familiar with the designation of a person as a guardian. Results are summarised in table 1 [Tab. 1].

Conclusions: Despite comparable state of health the acceptance of ADs is higher amongst dialysis patients than cancer patients. The results suggest that the difference may be related to characteristics of care more probably than to underlying disease. As the intention to write an AD is high in cancer patients health care professionals should take the initiative to start talking about patients wishes concerning treatment at the end of life.