Content Analysis of Euthanasia Policies of Nursing Homes in Flanders (Belgium)
Dierckx de Casterlé, Bernadette
Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy 2009 August; 12(3): 313-322
OBJECTIVES: To describe the form and content of ethics policies on euthanasia in Flemish nursing homes and to determine the possible influence of religious affiliation on policy content. METHODS: Content analysis of euthanasia policy documents. RESULTS: Of the 737 nursing homes we contacted, 612 (83%) completed and returned the questionnaire. Of 92 (15%) nursing homes that reported to have a euthanasia policy, 85 (92%) provided a copy of their policy. Nursing homes applied the euthanasia law with additional palliative procedures and interdisciplinary deliberations. More Catholic nursing homes compared to non-Catholic nursing homes did not permit euthanasia. Policies described several phases of the euthanasia care process as well as involvement of caregivers, patients, and relatives; ethical issues; support for caregivers; reporting; and procedures for handling advance directives. CONCLUSION: Our study revealed that euthanasia requests from patients are seriously considered in euthanasia policies of nursing homes, with great attention for palliative care and interdisciplinary cooperation.
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