Objective To determine the public's understanding of and views about a range of ethical issues in relation to death and dying.
Design Random, digit-dialling, telephone interview
Participants 667 adult individuals.
Results The general public are unfamiliar with terms associated with end-of-life care. Although most want to be informed if they have a terminal illness, they also value family support in this regard. Most of the respondents believe that competent patients have the right to refuse life-saving treatment. Most also (mistakenly) believe that families, either alone or with physicians, have the authority to make decisions about starting or stopping treatment for incompetent patients. Most Irish people are more concerned about the quality of their dying than death itself. Religious commitment is important to most Irish people, and this impacts on their views about medical treatment and care at the end of life.
Conclusions The study paints a picture of a general public that is not very comfortable with or informed about the processes of dying and death. Great sensitivity is required of health professionals who must negotiate the timing and the context of breaking of bad news with patients and families. Educational interventions, public and organisational policies and legislation need to address the uncertainty that surrounds the role of professionals and families in making decisions for dying patients.
- attitude to death
- terminal care
- truth disclosure
- living wills
- quality/value of life/personhood
- right to refuse treatment
- elderly and terminally ill
- attitudes toward death
- living wills/advance directives
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.
Read the full text or download the PDF:
Other content recommended for you
- Importance of the advance directive and the beginning of the dying process from the point of view of German doctors and judges dealing with guardianship matters: results of an empirical survey
- A survey of the perspectives of patients who are seriously ill regarding end-of-life decisions in some medical institutions of Korea, China and Japan
- Examining the ethico-legal aspects of the right to refuse treatment in Turkey
- When enough is enough; terminating life-sustaining treatment at the patient's request: a survey of attitudes among Swedish physicians and the general public
- Emergency clinicians' attitudes and decisions in patient scenarios involving advance directives
- Survey on advance care planning of Italian outpatients on chronic haemodialysis
- The do-not-resuscitate order: associations with advance directives, physician specialty and documentation of discussion 15 years after the Patient Self-Determination Act
- When slippery slope arguments miss the mark: a lesson from one against physician-assisted death
- Practising what we preach: clinical ethicists’ professional perspectives and personal use of advance directives
- Clinical ethical dilemmas: convergent and divergent views of two scholarly communities