skip to page content
Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

Health Services Research & Development

Go to the ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Value Placed on Comfort vs Life Prolongation Among Patients Treated With Maintenance Dialysis.

Wong SPY, Prince DK, Kurella Tamura M, Hall YN, Butler CR, Engelberg RA, Vig EK, Curtis JR, O'Hare AM. Value Placed on Comfort vs Life Prolongation Among Patients Treated With Maintenance Dialysis. JAMA internal medicine. 2023 May 1; 183(5):462-469.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


IMPORTANCE: Patients receiving maintenance dialysis experience intensive patterns of end-of-life care that might not be consistent with their values. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the association of patients' health care values with engagement in advance care planning and end-of-life care. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Survey study of patients who received maintenance dialysis between 2015 and 2018 at dialysis centers in the greater metropolitan areas of Seattle, Washington, and Nashville, Tennessee, with longitudinal follow-up of decedents. Logistic regression models were used to estimate probabilities. Data analysis was conducted between May and October 2022. EXPOSURES: A survey question about the value that the participant would place on longevity-focused vs comfort-focused care if they were to become seriously ill. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Self-reported engagement in advance care planning and care received near the end of life through 2020 using linked kidney registry data and Medicare claims. RESULTS: Of 933 patients (mean [SD] age, 62.6 [14.0] years; 525 male patients [56.3%]; 254 [27.2%] identified as Black) who responded to the question about values and could be linked to registry data (65.2% response rate [933 of 1431 eligible patients]), 452 (48.4%) indicated that they would value comfort-focused care, 179 (19.2%) that they would value longevity-focused care, and 302 (32.4%) that they were unsure about the intensity of care they would value. Many had not completed an advance directive (estimated probability, 47.5% [95% CI, 42.9%-52.1%] of those who would value comfort-focused care vs 28.1% [95% CI, 24.0%-32.3%] of those who would value longevity-focused care or were unsure; P? < .001), had not discussed hospice (estimated probability, 28.6% [95% CI, 24.6%-32.9%] comfort focused vs 18.2% [95% CI, 14.7%-21.7%] longevity focused or unsure; P? < .001), or had not discussed stopping dialysis (estimated probability, 33.3% [95% CI, 29.0%-37.7%] comfort focused vs 21.9% [95% CI, 18.2%-25.8%] longevity focused or unsure; P? < .001). Most respondents wanted to receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (estimated probability, 78.0% [95% CI, 74.2%-81.7%] comfort focused vs 93.9% [95% CI, 91.4%-96.1%] longevity focused or unsure; P? < .001) and mechanical ventilation (estimated probability, 52.0% [95% CI, 47.4%-56.6%] comfort focused vs 77.9% [95% CI, 74.0%-81.7%] longevity focused or unsure; P? < .001). Among decedents, the percentages of participants who received an intensive procedure during the final month of life (estimated probability, 23.5% [95% CI, 16.5%-31.0%] comfort focused vs 26.1% [95% CI, 18.0%-34.5%] longevity focused or unsure; P? = .64), discontinued dialysis (estimated probability, 38.3% [95% CI, 32.0%-44.8%] comfort focused vs 30.2% [95% CI, 23.0%-37.8%] longevity focused or unsure; P? = .09), and enrolled in hospice (estimated probability, 32.2% [95% CI, 25.7%-38.7%] comfort focused vs 23.3% [95% CI, 16.4%-30.5%] longevity focused or unsure; P? = .07) were not statistically different. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: This survey study found that there appeared to be a disconnect between patients' expressed values, which were largely comfort focused, and their engagement in advance care planning and end-of-life care, which reflected a focus on longevity. These findings suggest important opportunities to improve the quality of care for patients receiving dialysis.

Questions about the HSR&D website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.