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David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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G. G. van Bruchem-Van De Scheur, A. J. G. V. D. Arend, H. H. Abu-Saad, C. Spreeuwenberg, F. C. B. van Wijmen & R. H. J. Ter Meulen
Journal of Medical Ethics 34 (4):254-258 (2008)
Background: Issues concerning legislation and regulation with respect to the role of nurses in euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide gave the Minister for Health reason to commission a study of the role of nurses in medical end-of-life decisions in hospitals, home care and nursing homes.Aim: This paper reports the findings of a study of the role of nurses in euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, conducted as part of a study of the role of nurses in medical end-of-life decisions. The findings for hospitals, home care and nursing homes are described and compared.Method: A questionnaire was sent to 1509 nurses, employed in 73 hospitals, 55 home care organisations and 63 nursing homes. 1179 responses were suitable for analysis. The questionnaire was pilot-tested among 106 nurses, with a response rate of 85%.Results: In 37.0% of cases, the nurse was the first person with whom patients discussed their request for euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide. Consultation between physicians and nurses during the decision-making process took place quite often in hospitals and nursing homes and less frequently in home care situations . In some cases , nurses administered the euthanatics.Conclusions: The results show substantial differences between the intramural sector and the extramural sector , which are probably linked to the organisational structure of the institutions. Consultation between physicians and nurses during the decision-making process needs improvement, particularly in home care. Some nurses had administered euthanatics, although this task is by law exclusively reserved to physicians
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