"Advance directives do serve as a helpful tool, but they're not a perfect tool. What you say you want today might be different from what you want another day. But, an advance directive gives permission for family members to withhold care when there's no reason to think that more medical treatments might help, and to do what will make this person more comfortable," said Dr. Tia Powell, director of the Montefiore-Einstein Center for Bioethics, and director of the Einstein-Cardozo Masters of Science in Bioethics in New York City.
"There remains a disconnect between practice patterns regarding [end-of-life care] in different parts of the country. We still have a lot of distance to cover in terms of providing the level of sensitive, individualized care for the elderly and the ill in the U.S.," Powell said. "There can be benefits from advance directives, and also from providing appropriate care and not wasting money."
Learn more about advance directives from the American Academy of Family Physicians.
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