Rethinking the Role of Advance Care Planning in the Context of Infectious Disease

Sara Moorman, Kathrin Boerner, Deborah Carr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Advance care planning (ACP) for medical decision-making at the end of life has developed around the expectation of death from long-term, progressive chronic illnesses. We reexamine advance care planning in light of the increased probability of death from COVID-19, an exemplar of death that occurs relatively quickly after disease onset. We draw several conclusions about ACP in the context of infectious diseases: interpersonal and sociostructural barriers to ACP are high; ACP is not well-oriented toward decision-making for treatment of an acute illness; and the U.S. health care system is not well positioned to fulfill patients’ end of life preferences in a pandemic. Passing the peak of the crisis will reduce, but not eliminate, these problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-499
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Aging and Social Policy
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • death and dying
  • living will
  • medical decision-making
  • social disparities


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