Can Doctors Predict Death?

I read a remarkable study today. It was from The Journal of Pain and Symptom Management and it showed that only 41% of palliative care doctors could accurately predict when a patient would die. These are doctors who see people with serious and terminal illness all the time.

This overestimation on a personal level might mean that you and your family are not prepared for death. In the study, the overestimation was also associated with underuse of hospice services and later enrollment in services which provide comfort care at the end of life.

This overestimation is common and it can impact how you and your family prepare for death. Maybe you think doctors should be better trained, or less optimistic. But the reality is that death can’t be predicted.

So here’s what I take away from this: one, don’t wait until you’re sick to get your affairs in order, and two, don’t wait until you’re dying to live your best life possible!

Take care,

Karen Purze

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Karen Purze

About the Author

Karen Purze

Karen Purze is the author of Life In Motion: A Guide for Gathering Life’s Vital Details, a workbook to help people get their affairs in order. She blogs about end-of-life and emergency planning at lifeinmotionguide.com.

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