The field of clinical bioethics strongly advocates for the use of advance directives to promote patient autonomy, particularly at the end of life. This paper reports a study of clinical bioethicists’ perceptions of the professional consensus about advance directives, as well as their personal advance care planning practices. We find that clinical bioethicists are often sceptical about the value of advance directives, and their personal choices about advance directives often deviate from what clinical ethicists acknowledge to be their profession’s recommendations. Moreover, our respondents identified a pluralistic set of justifications for completing treatment directives and designating surrogates, even while the consensus view focuses on patient autonomy. Our results suggest important revisions to academic discussion and public-facing advocacy about advance care planning.
- living wills/advance directives
- clinical ethics
Data availability statement
Data are available upon request.
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Contributors JAW conceptualised the study, conducted the analysis, drafted the initial manuscript, and reviewed and approved the final draft. MN conceptualised the study, conducted the analysis, revised the manuscript, and reviewed and approved the final draft. VD conducted portions of the analysis, revised the manuscript, and reviewed and approved the final draft. TSG conceptualised the study, revised the manuscript, and reviewed and approved the final draft.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.