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Table 1 Patient and care characteristics and decision-making capacity (LASA-sample, n=165, rounded percentages)*

From: Decision-making capacity and communication about care of older people during their last three months of life

  Full DMC Limited DMC before death
total more than a week before death a week or less before death
  n=39 (%) n=126 (%) n=56 (%) n=70 (%)
Reason of incompetence n.a    
Unconscious/coma   32 8 52
Dazed   32 23 40
Demented   27 59 0
Confused   19 26 12
Symptom burden   4 4 6
Not able/willing to think of end of life   4 4 5
Communication difficult   1 2 0
Stroke   1 2 0
Other   3 6 2
Age
<70 15 14 7 19
70-85 51 43 43 43
>85 33 44 50 39
Male 59 47 43 50
Cause of death ‡ ¶
Cancer 16 25 13 28
Old age 11 23 36 13
Heart disease 32 12 13 12
Stroke 11 10 2 16
Lung disease (asthma/CARA/COPD) 8 10 4 15
Dementia 0 10 21 0
Other 22 11 13 10
Advance Directive (AD) 17 17 15 19
Type of AD
Advance euthanasia directive 6 8 11 6
Do-not-resuscitate order 6 6 2 8
Appointed proxy 3 1 2 0
Refusal of treatment document 3 3 2 3
Will-to-live statement 3 2 0 3
Type of care during the last 3 months of life
District nurse 39 45 39 49
Informal home care 53 36 27 43
Formal home care 36 34 25 42
Nursing home care 3 29 7 15
Volunteer help 10 9 13 6
Main attending physician in last three months ‡ ¶
General practitioner 86 59 45 70
Specialist elderly care 3 29 7 17
Medical specialist 11 13 48 13
Hospitalization in last month of life 37 36 22 49
Place of death ‡ ¶
Hospital 28 28 13 41
Own home 45 26 23 28
Nursing home 8 27 52 6
Residential home 17 15 11 22
Hospice 3 3 2 3
  1. *Missing observations were less than 5% of the total n, except for the group ‘full DMC until death’, between 1 and 9 missing observations.
  2. More than one answer could be given.
  3. Difference between the groups ‘limited DMC more than a week before death’ and ‘limited DMC a week or less before death’ significant (p<0.05).
  4. Difference between groups ‘full DMC until death’ and ‘limited DMC before death significant’ significant (p<0.05).