(STUDY FINDS) -- INDIANAPOLIS — In the event an individual is unable to make decisions for themselves due to a medical condition, it’s common for a close family member, friend, or loved one to serve as their surrogate. In these situations, the surrogate makes decisions on behalf of their loved one regarding any and all treatment options moving forward. Now, in a first of its kind study, researchers from the Regenstrief Institute in Indianapolis, Indiana have investigated how the religious and spiritual beliefs of surrogates influence how they approach end-of-life care for older adult family members.
The study’s main finding was that a surrogate’s beliefs regarding the possibility of a miracle is a significant factor in which treatments they select for their loved one. Surprisingly, aside from beliefs on miracles, a surrogate’s overall religious and spiritual beliefs were not found to influence their end of life care decisions all that much.
“If the surrogate decision maker believed that a miracle might occur and change the course of their loved one’s illness, the surrogate was more likely to choose aggressive treatment and was less accepting of a comfort-focused care plan,” explains study leader Dr. Alexia Torke in a release.
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