Origination of medical advance directives among nursing home residents with and without serious mental illness

Xueya Cai, Peter Cram, Yue Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Nursing home residents with serious mental illness need a high level of general medical and end-of-life services. This study tested whether persons with serious mental illness are as likely as other nursing home residents to make informed choices about treatments through medical advance care plans. Methods: Secondary analyses were conducted with data from a 2004 national survey of nursing home residents with (N=1,769) and without (N=11,738) serious mental illness. Bivariate and multivariate analyses determined differences in documented advance care plans, including living wills; do-not-resuscitate and do-nothospitalize orders; and orders concerning restriction of feeding tube, medication, or other treatments. Results: The overall rates of having any of the four advance care plans were 57% and 68% for residents with and without serious mental illness, respectively (p<.001). Residents with serious mental illness also showed lower rates for individual advance care plans. In a multivariate analysis that adjusted for resident and facility characteristics (N=1,174 nursing homes) as well as survey procedures, serious mental illness was associated with a 24% reduced odds of having any advance directives (adjusted odds ratio=.76, 95% confidence interval=.66-.87, p<.001). Similar results were found for individual documented plans. Conclusions: Among U.S. nursing home residents, those with serious mental illness were less likely than others to have written medical advance directives. Future research is needed to help understand both resident factors (such as inappropriate behaviors, impaired communication skills, and disrupted family support) and provider factors (including training, experience, and attitude) that underlie this finding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-66
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatric Services
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Origination of medical advance directives among nursing home residents with and without serious mental illness'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this