Monday, December 3, 2018

End-of-Life Care: Doctors’ Political Views (Research, Video 3:01)

Are your primary care doctors Democrats or Republicans? Do you think their political affiliations will impact your end-of-life care? Political affiliations of people we know can often impact how we relate to them or how they relate to us. With so many biases already researched in healthcare, can politics also influence healthcare we receive during terminal illness?

This research compared the delivery of end-of-life care given to U.S. Medicare beneficiaries in a hospital by internal medicine doctors with Democrat versus Republican political affiliationsPatients included random samples of Medicare beneficiaries who were admitted with a general medical condition to a hospital and later died in a hospital. Patient demographics and clinical characteristics were similar between groups. The proportion of patients discharged from a hospital to hospice did not vary with doctors' political affiliations.

Conclusion: This research provided no evidence that doctors' political affiliations are associated with the intensity of end-of-life care received by hospitalized patients. Were you surprised? Why?

Regarding terminal illness, many doctors struggle with what to say to patients who are dying. This video shows how they can have these hard conversations with emphasis on four important questions they should ask patients.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.

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