This Week In The Bmj

Elderly people do not plan for future illness

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 20 July 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:0

Many elderly patients are reluctant to make plans for the future, particularly for serious illness. Carrese and colleagues (p 125) report that chronically ill, housebound patients are reluctant to think about, discuss, or plan for serious future illness. Instead they live a day at a time, preferring not to consider problems until they occur. Attempts to make plans about care in advance will not, in all cases, solve the problem of decision making for seriously ill and incapacitated patients, the authors conclude.