There are many reasons why doctors aren't having these discussions as often as they should. The conversations can be time-consuming and emotionally wrought. And estimating how long someone has to live is an inexact science. Patients can differ in how much they want to be told, and families can be another complicating factor urging the loved one to keep fighting.
Younger doctors were more likely than older doctors to have end-of-life discussions with patients, possibly indicating that current medical training places more emphasis on palliative care.
If doctors don't bring up end-of-life issues, patients need to bring it up with their doctors, making sure their wishes are known.
More Answers from Anthony Cirillo