How has end-of-life planning changed?

End-of-life planning has changed in a number of ways. According to a Pew Research Center study from January 2006, "More Americans Discussing -- and Planning -- End-of-Life Treatment," more people have a living will than in the past. Between 1990 and 2005, the number of people who said they have a living will increased from 12% to 29%.

The Pew Research Center also found:
  • Over a period of five years, 42% of Americans had a friend or relative suffer from a terminal illness or coma, and for a majority of these people, the issue of withholding life-sustaining treatment came up.
  • An overwhelming majority of the public supports laws that give patients the right to decide whether they want to be kept alive through medical treatment.
  • By more than eight-to-one (84%-10%), the public approves of laws that let terminally ill patients make decisions about whether to be kept alive through medical treatment.

Continue Learning about End Of Life Issues

What should a person consider before refusing fluids to end one's life?
Barbara Coombs LeeBarbara Coombs Lee
Voluntarily stopping eating and drinking (VSED) doesn’t always go smoothly, and we recommend careful...
More Answers
How can I deal with conflict during end-of-life situations?
HealthCare Chaplaincy NetworkHealthCare Chaplaincy Network
With end-of-life situations come decisions, and with decisions often come conflict. This can be conf...
More Answers
Why should I talk to my doctor about my end-of-life wishes?
David R. Grube, MDDavid R. Grube, MD
It's important to talk to your doctor about your end-of-life wishes and complete an advance directiv...
More Answers
What cost or paperwork is involved in making an advance directive?
Dr. Aruna V. Josyula, MDDr. Aruna V. Josyula, MD
Living wills, the durable power of attorney for healthcare, do not resuscitate (DNR) orders and phys...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.