Questionnaires were mailed to 1777 members of the Dutch public (response: 78%), measuring to what extent respondents appreciate life-prolonging treatment, even if it would seriously impair their quality of life. The association between these attitudes and personal characteristics and initiatives to engage in advance care planning was analyzed. About one third of the respondents prefers quality of life at the expense of survival, another third prefers length of life regardless of impaired quality, whereas the remaining third did not express a clear attitude towards quality or length of life. People who were younger, male, having children, having religious beliefs, and without a history of serious illness were more likely to strive for length, whereas the reverse associations were found for striving for quality. The latter was related to undertaking initiatives to engage in advance care planning. Awareness of differences in attitudes towards life-prolonging treatment within the public may improve communication about appropriate end-of-life care.

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Patient Education and Counseling
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Rietjens, J., van der Heide, A., Voogt, E., Onwuteaka-Philipsen, B., van der Maas, P., & van der Wal, G. (2005). Striving for quality or length at the end-of-life: Attitudes of the Dutch general public. Patient Education and Counseling, 59(2), 158–163. doi:10.1016/j.pec.2004.10.012