Title: How do hospitals deal with euthanasia requests in Flanders (Belgium)? A content analysis of policy documents
Authors: Lemiengre, Joke ×
Dierckx de Casterlé, Bernadette
Denier, Yvonne
Schotsmans, Paul
Gastmans, Chris #
Issue Date: May-2008
Series Title: Patient education and counseling vol:71 issue:2 pages:293-301
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: To describe the form and content of ethics policies on euthanasia in Flemish hospitals and the possible influence of religious affiliation on policy content. METHODS: Content analysis of policy documents. RESULTS: Forty-two documents were analyzed. All policies contained procedures; 57% included the position paper on which the hospital's stance on euthanasia was based. All policies described their hospital's stance on euthanasia in competent terminally ill patients (n=42); 10 and 4 policies, respectively, did not describe their stance in incompetent terminally and non-terminally ill patients. Catholic hospitals restrictively applied the euthanasia law with palliative procedures and interdisciplinary deliberations. The policies described several phases of the euthanasia care process--confrontation with euthanasia request (93%), decision-making process (95%), care process in cases of no-euthanasia decision (38%), preparation and performance of euthanasia (79%), and aftercare (81%)--as well as involvement of caregivers, patients, and relatives; ethical issues; support for caregivers; reporting; and practical examples of professional attitudes and communication skills. CONCLUSION: Euthanasia policies go beyond summarizing the euthanasia law by addressing the importance of the euthanasia care process, in which palliative care and interdisciplinary cooperation are important factors. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Euthanasia policies provide tangible guidance for physicians and nurses on handling euthanasia requests.
ISSN: 0738-3991
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Interfaculty Centre for Biomedial Ethics and Law
Academic Centre for Nursing and Midwifery
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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