Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research
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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 150  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 598-605

End-of-life decisions: A retrospective study in a tertiary care teaching hospital in India

1 Department of Medicine, Christian Medical College & Hospital, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Biostatistics, Christian Medical College & Hospital, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr Vignesh Kumar Chandiraseharan
Department of Medicine, Unit II, Christian Medical College, Vellore 632 004, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijmr.IJMR_1409_17

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Background & objectives: In developing countries like India, there is a lack of clarity regarding the factors that influence decisions pertaining to life supports at the end-of-life (EOL). The objectives of this study were to assess the factors associated with EOL-care decisions in the Indian context and to raise awareness in this area of healthcare. Methods: This retrospectively study included all patients admitted to the medical unit of a tertiary care hospital in southern India, over one year and died. The baseline demographics, economic, physiological, sociological, prognostic and medical treatment-related factors were retrieved from the patient's medical records and analysed. Results: Of the 122 decedents included in the study whose characteristics were analyzed, 41 (33.6%) received full life support and 81 (66.4%) had withdrawal or withholding of some life support measure. Amongst those who had withdrawal or withholding of life support, 62 (76.5%) had some support withheld and in 19 (23.5%), it was withdrawn. The documentation of the disease process, prognosis and the mention of imminent death in the medical records was the single most important factor that was associated with the EOL decision (odds ratio - 0.08; 95% confidence interval, 0.01-0.74; P=0.03). Interpretation & conclusions: The documentation of poor prognosis was the only factor found to be associated with EOL care decisions in our study. Prospective, multicentric studies need to be done to evaluate the influence of various other factors on the EOL care.

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