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Family Influences Older Adults’ Care Preferences

Preferences of those with advanced illness based on interaction of family, individual, and illness factors

THURSDAY, March 15, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Family is an important influence on care preferences among older adults with advanced illness, according to a review published online March 7 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Simon N. Etkind, M.B. B.Chir., from Kings College London, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to identify articles that used qualitative or quantitative methods to investigate influences on care preference among older adults with advanced illness. The authors identified 57 articles that included 15,164 participants.

The researchers found that care preferences are influenced by the interaction of family and care context, illness, and individual factors. Prominent influences on care preferences include support from and burden on family and loved ones. Preferences are also influenced by mechanisms such as the process of trading off between competing priorities, making choices based on expected outcome, level of engagement, and individual ability to form and express preferences.

“Family is particularly important as an influence on care preferences, which are influenced by complex interaction of family, individual, and illness factors,” the authors write. “To support preferences, clinicians should consider older people with illnesses and their families together as a unit of care.”

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