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March 24/31, 2004

Memories of Loved Ones About Care at the End of Life

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie, MD, PhD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2004;291(12):1445-1446. doi:10.1001/jama.291.12.1445-c

To the Editor: Dr Teno and colleagues1 reported that "[a]bout one quarter of all patients with pain or dyspnea did not receive adequate treatment" and that "[s]uch national information on the quality of end-of-life care in the United States has been sorely lacking." The data were obtained from individuals identified on death certificates or someone those individuals recommended. The authors commented that such proxies "may have inaccurately perceived patients' unmet needs for symptom management. . . . " They continued, "however, a recent synthesis of literatures suggests that families are able to accurately report on many quality-of-care domains" and cited an article by McPherson and Addington-Hall.2