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Study: Making End-Of-Life Choices


What things would you like to have in place at the time of your death? New research puts a competent and understanding physician at the top the list.

Sylvie Bonin-Scaon of the Institute of Advanced Studies in France led a study of 965 men and women. The results appeared in the International Journal of Aging and Human Development (Vol. 68, No. 1, 2009).

Top 10 Priorities

Study participants included 658 females and 307 males, aged 18 to 99. The older adults lived in their own homes. Researchers asked participants to respond to a questionnaire outlining a variety of preferences at the moment of death.

Here are the participants’ top 10 priorities, in order of importance:

1. To have a competent and understanding physician, able to free them from pain

2. To be at peace with self

3. To remain autonomous (not hooked up to machine)

4. To keep a sense of humour

5. To be able to oppose any decisions taken without their consent

6. To remain close to loved ones and be loved to the end

7. To be able to inspire respect until the last moment

8. To have resolved conflicts with others

9. To leave their business and finances in good order

10. To find themselves at peace with God

According to researchers, the study findings extend earlier research, which reveals people have a wide range of ideas about how they want to die.

Researchers hope the findings will help families and those providing care for people at the end of their lives. The results also provide direction for hospital personnel, directors of long-term care and others wishing to provide the best possible environment for patients.