Advances in medical care and technology during the latter half of the 20th century have prolonged life expectancy in the United States. However, these same advances have blurred the boundary between life and death, challenging our expectations about how Americans could experience the end of life. Many individuals survive illnesses or traumatic injuries that would once have been fatal.
For others, medical technology only serves to prolong survival in an unacceptable quality of life. Decisions concerning life and death issues affect a large and increasing number of individuals in the United States. This book discusses advance directives and advance care planning. It examines legal and policy issues, public engagement, and federal oversight, provider implementation and prevalence.