Saturday, September 16, 2006

"End-of-Life" Care: West Virginia Views

I am not aware of any surveys conducted in Pennsylvania regarding "end-of-life" care.

However, in our sister state of
West Virginia, since 1999, the West Virginia Center for End of Life Care has conducted a random survey of 1,000 West Virginia residents every two years regarding their attitudes toward "end of life" care options. These results may illuminate the views of a region, not just that state.

In March, 2006, the Center compiled the results of its 2006 Survey, and then released its summary.

Key findings are found online here:

39% of West Virginians have completed a living will, a medical power of attorney, or a combined form. This is the highest percentage in the nation. Most states report an average of 20-25% completion.

DNR ("Do Not Resuscitate") awareness is continually increasing. In 1999, only 45% reported they were familiar with the DNR law. In 2006, 64% reported awareness.

Two-thirds of West Virginians have talked to a family member or close friend regarding their end of life treatment desires, yet only 21% of West Virginians have discussed these desires with their doctor.

65% of West Virginians’ stated that friends or family who passed away within the last year received good or excellent care for their pain and suffering at the end of their life.

Concern over dying in pain has dropped from 30% in 1999, to 19% in 2006.

Overall rating of end of life care in West Virginia has increased from 46% who believed it to be good to excellent in 1999, to 61% in 2006.

The survey was conducted by RMS Strategies in Charleston, WV. The margin of error was +/- 3%.