Spring 2014

Muddled Directives

Confusion among patients and health-care proxies is widespread

Family members who sign “do-not-hospitalize” orders on behalf of older relatives likely to be moved from a nursing home to a hospital are frequently unclear about what they are asking, according to a recent article in the New York Times. Working together with colleagues in Pennsylvania and Ohio, Assistant Professor Sarah Goff, a specialist in internal medicine at the Tufts-affiliated Baystate Medical Center, served as co-author of the small study of 16 health-care proxies for patients with advanced dementia.

The study found that proxies are often confused about how “do-not-hospitalize” orders work. Some proxies believed, mistakenly, that the directives meant medical intervention of any sort would be withheld from the patient.

“Do-not-hospitalize” directives come in two main flavors. The first prohibits a patient from being sent to a hospital under any circumstances.

The second directive is a more general recommendation to avoid the hospital, but with stipulations that an admission may make sense and be approved for the patient under certain conditions.

Top Stories

Tell Me More

Because interviewing patients effectively is such a precious skill in medicine, Tufts has redoubled its emphasis on teaching students how to do it right

Remembering Jane

A virtuoso physician, teacher and hematologist, Jane Desforges, ’45, cared for patients in a way that has students and colleagues, decades later, still marveling at her example

Into the Big Picture

Elizabeth Kong, a geneticist by training, loves getting people excited about science. Now, as director of a brand-new exhibit space at the Museum of Science, she does that every day

When Swimming in a River Can Make a Child Sick for Life

At a handful of labs in the world, including several at Tufts, the hunt is on for a cure for a debilitating infection that afflicts 200 million people

Editor's Picks

A Life Regained

Overcoming the odds for her critically wounded patient came naturally

The Unasked Question

Military service is too often left out of the patient’s medical profile

Inside Obamacare

One of the architects of the Affordable Care Act talks about its lesser-known benefits

Carrying It Forward

These four alums provide support and guidance for the next generation of caregivers

Watching Fish Swim

The pastime could lead to better artificial limbs and nimbler submarines