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Psychosomatics. 1993 Sep-Oct;34(5):395-401.

Patient attitudes and psychological considerations in dialysis discontinuation.

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Department of Psychiatry, Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, MA 01199.


The authors surveyed 36 adult patients who were maintained with chronic renal dialysis concerning their attitudes about dialysis discontinuation. Few subjects reported having ever considered stopping the life-support treatment. When asked to consider 12 hypothetical scenarios in which they might consider stopping treatment (e.g., onset of dementia or blindness), most subjects would still not consider discontinuation. Consideration of dialysis discontinuation was directly correlated with the patient's educational level. Follow-up after 1 year underscored the substantial differences between the responses the subjects gave to the 12 hypothetical scenarios and their real-life responses when they were later faced with decisions to actually terminate treatment. Psychiatrists have an opportunity to participate in the complex clinical and ethical decisions associated with advance directives and patients' right to refuse life-support treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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