end of life

There was a report on Michigan Radio’s Stateside program two days ago that revealed that while nine out of 10 of us want to have an end-of-life conversation with their doctors, only about one-sixth of us have actually done so.

That didn’t surprise me.

A recent poll finds 90% of us want to have end of life discussions of our doctors, but only 17% have actually done so
University of Michigan Medical School

No matter what your circumstances in life, there is one great and final equalizer: Every single one of us will die.

Yet it is often difficult for patients, their families and their physicians to accept the approaching end of life and to shift focus of care from curing and treating to comfort.

Shayan Sanyal/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Aging inmates are the fastest-growing population in Michigan’s prisons.

This has presented a critical challenge: how to provide end-of-life care to those inmates.

That’s where a prison hospice program called CHOICES comes into play. It stands for Choose, Health Options, Initiate Care, and Educate Self.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s been a big jump in the number of elderly people making living wills and other end-of-life directives.

Dr. Maria Silveira is a University of Michigan researcher. She says between 2000 and 2010, the percentage of elderly Americans with living wills or who gave a loved one power of attorney in health matters rose from 47% to 72%.

Silveira says the change may reflect different generational attitudes.

“I think this generation of older folks, Baby Boomers in particular, are more inclined to take charge,” says Silveira.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

There’s a bill making its way through the state legislature that would require Michigan hospitals to reveal when they will withhold treatment from severely ill patients.

Many hospitals have ‘futility’ policies.   The policies outline when the hospitals will withhold treatment from a patient on the grounds that further care would be futile and would simply waste hospital resources.

The policies are mainly for internal use and not widely disclosed.


It will soon be easier for Michigan hospitals and doctors to check to see if their patients have “advance medical directives."