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Palliat Med. 2006 Oct;20(7):685-92.

Preferences of the Dutch general public for a good death and associations with attitudes towards end-of-life decision-making.

Author information

1
Department of Public Health, University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. j.rietjens@erasmusmc.nl

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Euthanasia and other end-of-life decisions are acceptable to the large majority of the Dutch public. Insight in the relationships of such acceptance, with characteristics considered important for a 'good death', may contribute to the understanding of this liberal attitude.

METHOD:

Questionnaires were mailed to 1777 members of the Dutch public (response: 78%), containing questions relating to a good death, attitudes towards euthanasia, terminal sedation and increasing morphine, and demographics. Associations between characteristics of a good death and attitudes towards these end-of-life decisions were analysed.

FINDINGS:

Characteristics that were considered important for a good death were: the possibility to say goodbye to loved ones (94%), dying with dignity (92%), being able to decide about end-of-life care (88%), and dying free of pain (87%). Acceptance of euthanasia, terminal sedation and increasing morphine were related to the wish to have a dignified death, and with concerns about burdening relatives with terminal care. Acceptance of euthanasia was also associated with the wish to be able to decide about medical end-of-life treatments and about the moment of death.

INTERPRETATION:

Besides saying farewell and dying pain free and with dignity, many members of the Dutch public consider values of control and maintenance of independence as important for a good death.

PMID:
17060267
DOI:
10.1177/0269216306070241
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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