Dying for choices: decision-making in end-of-life care

Every year more than 185,000 Canadians die in acute-care settings. Previous research has shown that patient choices regarding care are extensively influenced by factors inherent in the place of death. However, no Canadian research has examined how end-of-life care (EOLC) decisions are influenced and shaped through these factors. The focus of Marian Krawczyk’s research is to examine EOLC decision-making within acute-care settings, specifically in regards to the use of life-extending technologies. Her study examines factors that are overlooked in existing research including the location of communication when discussing EOLC options, differing medical models of palliative care, doctor-patient communication, and the social capital and economic resources of patients. By providing data that examines communication in EOLC in British Columbia, this research seeks to strengthen the ability of health care providers, patients and families to effectively communicate and negotiate patient care choices before and during acute care settings. The research will also increase the ability and efficiency of policy makers in the delivery and distribution of health services. Finally, it may help improve communication and decrease consumer-driven health costs.