Use of advance directives increases among nursing home residents

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Guest Columns: Long-term care needs certified electronic health records too
Guest Columns: Long-term care needs certified electronic health records too
Advance directive documentation is sharply on the rise in the nation's nursing homes, according to a recent report from the Institute for the Future of Aging Services, a research arm of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.

Nearly 70% of all nursing home residents over the age of 65 have at least one advance directive document in their records. That is up from 53% in 1996, according to the report. The documents were more common for married, white and female residents. Residents at nonprofit homes were 60% more likely to have advance directives, according to the report. The IFAS report is an analysis of data from the 2004 National Nursing Home Survey, which includes data representing America's 1.3 million nursing home residents over the age of 65.

Advance directives provide written documentation of a patient or resident's end-of-life choices. "Both residents and families must continue to engage in the discussions needed to accurately document end-of-life choices," said Helaine Resnick, Ph.D., director of research at IFAS, adding that providers, as well, must continue to stress the importance of advance directives.
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