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.

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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.