Table of Contents
ISRN Family Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 483673, 8 pages
Research Article

Planning for Serious Illness by the General Public: A Population-Based Survey

1College of Nursing, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 0W8
2Department of Sociology, College of Arts and Science, University of Saskatchewan, 9 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 5E5
3Edwards School of Business, University of Saskatchewan, 25 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 5A7
4Department of Psychology, St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan, 1437 College Drive, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 0W6
5College of Law, University of Saskatchewan, 15 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 5A6

Received 8 October 2013; Accepted 24 November 2013

Academic Editors: C. Pearce, P. Pluye, A. M. Salinas-Martinez, V. K. Sharma, and C. Veitch

Copyright © 2013 Donna Goodridge et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. While rates of advance care documentation amongst the general public remain low, there is increasing recognition of the value of informal planning to address patient preferences in serious illness. Objectives. To determine the associations between personal attributes and formal and informal planning for serious illness across age groups. Methods. This population-based, online survey was conducted in Saskatchewan, Canada, in April, 2012, using a nonclinical sample of 827 adults ranging from 18 to 88 years of age and representative of age, sex, and regional distribution of the province. Associations between key predictor variables and planning for serious illness were assessed using binary logistic regression. Results. While 16.6% of respondents had completed a written living will or advance care plan, half reported having conversations about their treatment wishes or states of health in which they would find it unacceptable to live. Lawyers were the most frequently cited source of assistance for those who had prepared advance care plans. Personal experiences with funeral planning significantly increased the likelihood of activities designed to plan for serious illness. Conclusions. Strategies designed to increase the rate of planning for future serious illness amongst the general public must account for personal readiness.