Breaking the death taboo — Older people's perspectives on end‐of‐life decisions

Tushna Vandrevala (Department of Psychology, University of Surrey)
Sarah Hampson (Department of Psychology, University of Surrey)
Theopisti Chrysanthaki (Department of Psychology, University of Surrey)

Quality in Ageing and Older Adults

ISSN: 1471-7794

Publication date: 1 September 2002


The greater availability of life‐sustaining technology, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and the medical, legal and moral pressures to use them, often enable the prolongation of lives of older people. The dying process can be extended regardless of quality of life. Further, there is much public debate on the increasing emphasis on individual rights and personal autonomy in the dying process. This qualitative study examined older people's perspectives on end‐of‐life decision‐making and advance care planning. A sample of 12 older people living in the community was recruited and studied in‐depth. A semi‐structured interview explored patients' conceptualisations of decision‐making in the later stages of life and the significant others they would like involved in the process. The data were analysed using ‘content analysis’. The resulting broad categories, themes and sub‐themes formed the foundation of an emerging model of older people talking about end‐of‐life care. Finally, results were discussed with regard to practice and policy development.



Vandrevala, T., Hampson, S. and Chrysanthaki, T. (2002), "Breaking the death taboo — Older people's perspectives on end‐of‐life decisions", Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, Vol. 3 No. 3, pp. 36-48.

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Copyright © 2002, MCB UP Limited

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