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March 24/31, 2004

Memories of Loved Ones About Care at the End of Life—Reply

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2004;291(12):1445-1446. doi:10.1001/jama.291.12.1446

In Reply: Drs Weiss and Finucane are concerned that our reliance on bereaved family members to report on the quality of end-of-life care is more problematic than we acknowledged. We believe that this is more valid to retrospectively interview bereaved family members than to prospectively assess dying persons. First, a substantial number of dying persons are unable to be interviewed in the last month of life. Additionally, the difficulties of case finding makes a prospective design costly and biased since many persons simply are not counted among the dying until after they have died.