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Advance Directives for Health Care among Older Community Residents

Author: WILLIAM J. MCAULEY, MEGAN E. MCCUTCHEON, and SHIRLEY S. TRAVIS
Published in JHHSA, Vol. 30 No. 4

Advance directives (ADs) for healthcare are useful planning
tools for older people. In addition, the utilization of ADs is important
for health and human services planners, administrators, and policy
makers to understand because whether or not people have an AD, and
what types of ADs they have can dramatically influence the treatment
trajectories and the well-being of older people who can longer make
decisions for themselves. Using telephone survey data with a random
sample of Oklahoma residents age 60 and older, we examined the
prevalence of four measures of AD use. Prior to the implementation of
this survey in 2002, the Oklahoma Aging Services Division was very
active in promoting two types of AD—the living will and the durable
power of attorney for healthcare. More than half of those interviewed
had a living will, two-fifths had a durable power of attorney for
healthcare, and one-third had both ADs. Older age and higher levels of
education were consistently associated with having ADs.

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