Jan Hoffman in The New York Times:

Until recently, most clinical teams believed that adolescents would not understand the implications of end-of-life planning and that they might be psychologically harmed by such talk.

Sometimes when providers do make the attempt, parents or patients may abruptly change the subject, fearful that by joining in, they are signaling that they have abandoned hope.

Yet research shows that avoiding these talks exacerbates the teenage patient’s fear and sense of isolation. In a 2012 survey examining end-of-life attitudes among adolescent patients with H.I.V., 56 percent said that not being able to discuss their preferences was “a fate worse than death.”