Landmark report on patients' wishes at end of life released

23 Mar 2011 | Partners in Care

“This is the only medical issue that everyone has a stake in," says Dr. Lachlan Forrow, Chair of the Panel and Director of Ethics Programs at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

"Any health care system should help doctors and other caregivers ensure that patient's wishes are understood and honored."

Jim Conway (IHI Senior Fellow and former Senior Vice President), Vice-Chair of the Panel, said the panel heard a clear message in meetings with groups of citizens throughout Massachusetts: "They want to talk about how will we respect and honor their wishes at the end of life."

The report details sensible recommendations for improving care and patient-centeredness at the end of life, including a public awareness campaign to educate people about their options and encourage them to plan for their own end-stages; the spread of a uniform physician order form, Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (MOLST), that clearly documents patient wishes; an increase in training in palliative care; and a requirement that all insurers cover hospice care.

The report can be read here.

Last updated 19/01/2012