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Nebraska Veterans' Preferences for End-of-Life Care

Shanna L. Freeman
Ann M. Berger
CJON 2009, 13(4), 399-403 DOI: 10.1188/09.CJON.399-403

More than 1,800 veterans die in a variety of healthcare settings each day, illustrating a need to improve their end-of-life (EOL) care. In 2006, the Nebraska End-of-Life Survey was mailed to 2,713 urban and rural Nebraskan adults' homes; 44 of 324 first-time respondents (14%) were veterans. This article compares survey responses from veterans and nonveterans and discusses four issues: personal desires during the dying process, fear of dying, completion of advance directives, and communication preferences. Compared to nonveterans, veterans were significantly less likely to want friends or family visiting at EOL, less likely to place importance on being at peace spiritually, less afraid of dying alone, more likely to turn to a spouse to initiate EOL conversations, and less trusting of primary physicians on EOL issues. In addition, veterans had higher rates of completion of advance directives. Examining the survey responses can help guide clinical oncology nurses in delivering EOL care to veterans.

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