Advances in Long Term Care Medicine

Knowing the Facts: Advance Directives and End-of-Life Care

January 7, 201115 min
Host: Eric Tangalos, MD

Guest: Karl Steinberg, MD, CMD

"Advance directive" is an umbrella term that encompasses end-of-life documents, including a living will and durable power of attorney for healthcare. Such documents can be scary for many patients, and as such, advance directives are not very common among the general US population. Yet these documents can be powerful tools in ensuring patients receive the type of care they desire. What do physicians need to know about advance directives in caring for patients at the end of life? Dr. Karl Steinberg, associate medical director for skilled nursing care at Scripps Coastal Medical Center in Vista, California, discusses variations, misconceptions and confusion surrounding advance directives, and says there is room for improvement. Many states have enacted Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) programs to address end-of-life care issues. What do these programs involve, and how effective are such programs in alleviating confusion with end-of-life care? Dr. Eric Tangalos hosts.

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