Assessing Surrogate Decision Making For Older Adults
Hospitalized older adults are often unable to make their own medical decisions due to dementia, delirium or other conditions that impair cognitive function. In such cases, physicians must work with surrogates, usually close family members, to make choices for the patient. Although there is evidence of unwanted medical treatment for seriously ill patients and strain on surrogate decision makers, there has been little study of the frequency, characteristics or outcomes of surrogate decision making for older, hospitalized adults. An observational study conducted by Dr. Torke will characterize the frequency and outcomes of decisions made by surrogates with emphasis on the surrogate's own perspective on decision making. Results from the study will serve as the basis for an intervention to improve the quality and outcomes of surrogate decision making for older, hospitalized adults and their families.