• While 85 percent of Massachusetts residents believe physicians and their patients should talk about end-of-life care, only 15 percent have actually had such conversations.
  • Only 25 percent of respondents facing serious illness reported talking with their physician about end-of-life care.
  • One-third of Massachusetts residents who had a loved one die in the past year said patient preferences were not fully followed. And one-fifth described the end-of-life care they witnessed as only fair or poor.
  • Although the vast majority of people will eventually encounter medical situations in which they are unable to make decisions for themselves:


    • Almost half of the population (46 percent) has not discussed their wishes for serious illness care with loved ones. Men, people of color, and those without a college education are significantly less likely to have discussed their wishes with loved ones.
    • Many respondents (55 percent) have not named a health care agent (or proxy) to make such decisions.