More patients using videos to inform end-of-life care: 4 things to know

Many patients are stepping into the digital age by creating videos to express their end-of-life care preferences, reports Kaiser Health News.

Here are three things to know.

1. The videotaped statements are intended to expand on written advance directives like living wills and Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment. The videos can help clarify a patient's written care preferences for physicians, leaving less up to interpretation, and reassure family members of their loved one's wishes.

"It can give everyone confidence that Mom was competent and knew what she was signing and that no one tricked her by sticking a document in front of her and asking her to sign," Thaddeus Pope, director of the Health Law Institute at St. Paul, Minn.-based Mitchell Hamline School of Law, told KHN.

2. Several U.S. companies now offer digital advance directive services to walk patients through end-of-life care scenarios and create the videos, which usually range from 15 seconds to a minute long. Companies include the Institute on HealthCare Directives, MyDirectives, Life Message Media and In My Own Words.

3. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Patient Safety found physicians were more likely to agree on end-of-life interventions for a patient when consulting a video explaining the patient's preferences along with written advance directives.

"Doctors always question whether we're doing the right thing when it's just the paper document," Ferdinando Mirarchi, DO, founder of the Institute on Healthcare Directives, told KHN. "When you can see a patient expressing what their true intended wishes are, in their own voice, looking into a camera, that's a very powerful tool."

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