Bucket Lists Could be Used to Better Personalise Patient Care

UNDERSTANDING patients’ priorities and life ambitions through bucket lists could enable doctors to provide more personalised care and help persuade patients to adopt healthier lifestyles, according to researchers at Stanford University, California, USA. It was also argued that the best possible care plans for end-of-life patients can be implemented by using these lists.

Popularity of Bucket Lists
The study highlighted just how popular bucket lists are and why this is something that could be utilised in the context of healthcare. In a survey of 3,056 participants across the USA, it was found that 91% had made a bucket list, with six general themes emerging to describe the items on the lists: travel (79%); a personal goal, such as running a marathon (78%); a life milestone, such as a wedding anniversary (51%); spending quality time with family and friends (16.7%); achieving financial stability (24%); and undertaking a daring activity (15%).

Motivating Patients
From their own personal experience, the authors pointed out that such information could be used to motivate patients to initiative positive changes to their lifestyles. “Telling a patient not to eat sugar because it’s bad for them doesn’t work nearly as well as saying, for example, if you are careful now, you will be able to splurge on a slice of wedding cake in a few months when your son gets married,” explained lead author Dr VJ Periyakoil.

Planning End-of-Life Care
Using bucket lists could be of particular value in the provision of palliative care, where dialogue about a person’s ambitions is crucial. Dr Periyakoil commented that bucket lists are a very effective method of beginning such conversations and enabling patients to be more open about their motivations, ultimately leading to more tailored care. “Patients don’t see the relevance of an advance directive,” she said. “They do see the relevance of a bucket list as a way to help them plan ahead for what matters most in their lives.”

The authors have urged doctors to ask patients to show them their bucket lists more regularly as a way of ensuring that care is more personalised.

James Coker, Reporter

For the source and further information about the study, click here.

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