When it comes to discussing end-of-life medical preferences, research has found that compiling a “bucket list” can help jump-start the conversation – and also give valuable information to your physician.

A study in the Journal of Palliative Medicine found that of 3,056 people surveyed, 91% had a bucket list. The six most commonly cited items were:

  • Travel (cited by 79%)
  • Accomplishing a personal goal (78%)
  • Achieving a life milestone (51%)
  • Attaining financial stability (24%)
  • Spending quality time with friends and family (16.7%)
  • Doing a daring activity (15%)
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Researchers found that spending quality time with loved ones was more commonly discussed in participants older than 63, while performing a daring activity was more common among respondents younger than 26.

V.J. Periyakoil, an author of the study and a clinical associate professor of medicine at Stanford University, says that reframing end-of-life preferences is a good way to open the conversation.

If a physician knows what a patient wants to accomplish, then they can avoid medical interventions that would subvert those goals. Sharing a “bucket list” with a healthcare provider can help the provider tailor care appropriately.

If you have questions about end-of-life care options, call us at 1.866.KINDRED 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We can help discuss options in your area and help you get the conversation started. What’s on your bucket list? Share with us in the comments below.

By Dave Inman