Relationships between various attitudes towards self-determination in health care with special reference to an advance directive

Journal of Medical Ethics 25 (1):37-41 (1999)
OBJECTIVES: The subject of patient self-determination in health care has gained broad interest because of the increasing number of incompetent patients. In an attempt to solve the problems related to doctors' decision making in such circumstances, advance directives have been developed. The purpose of this study was to examine relationships between public attitudes towards patient autonomy and advance directives. SUBJECTS AND MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: A stratified random sample of 600 adults in northern Sweden was surveyed by a questionnaire with a response rate of 78.2%. The subjects were asked about their wish for control of their health care, their concerns about health care, their treatment preferences in a life-threatening situation (both reversible and irreversible), and their attitudes towards the application of advance directives. RESULTS: Numerous relationships between various aspects of self-determination in health care (desire for control, fears of over-treatment, and choice of treatment level) in general and advance directives, in particular, were found. Those who wanted to have a say in their health care (about 94%) also mainly supported the use of an advance directive. CONCLUSIONS: The fact that almost 30% of the respondents were undecided concerning their personal use of advance directives points to a lack of knowledge and to the necessity of education of the public on these issues
Keywords info:mesh/Advance Directives  info:mesh/Fear  info:mesh/Choice Behavior  info:mesh/Aged  info:mesh/Middle Aged  info:mesh/Informed Consent  info:mesh/Withholding Treatment  info:mesh/Patient Participation  info:mesh/Humans  info:mesh/Adult  Humans   Withholding Treatment   Questionnaires   Attitude to Health   Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice   Fear   Internal-External Control   Choice Behavior   Personal Autonomy   Informed Consent   Advance Directives   Adult   Aged   Aged, 80 and over   Middle Aged   Patient Participation   Sweden   Female   Male  info:mesh/Aged, 80 and over  info:mesh/Personal Autonomy  info:mesh/Attitude to Health  info:mesh/Internal-External Control  info:mesh/Questionnaires  info:mesh/Male  info:mesh/Female  info:mesh/Sweden  info:mesh/Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
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DOI 10.1136/jme.25.1.37
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