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Research Letter
April 6, 2020

Seriously Ill Patients’ Willingness to Trade Survival Time to Avoid High Treatment Intensity at the End of Life

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
  • 2University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, San Diego
  • 3The Palliative and Advanced Illness Research Center, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
JAMA Intern Med. 2020;180(6):907-909. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.0681

Patients with serious illnesses are often asked whether they would prioritize relief of pain and suffering or longevity if these 2 goals were to come into conflict.1 A significant majority state that they would prioritize relief of pain and suffering.2 However, it is difficult for clinicians and family caregivers to operationalize such preferences without knowing the limits of these preferences or how much time alive patients would be willing to sacrifice in the service of their palliative goals. We sought to quantify trade-offs between survival time and avoidance of intensive care near the end of life among seriously ill hospitalized patients.

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