Effect of Knowing Patients' Wishes and Health Profession on EuthanasiaMireille Lavoie1,2*, Gaston Godin1, Lydi-Anne Vézina-Im1, Danielle Blondeau1, Isabelle Martineau3 and Louis Roy4
- *Corresponding Author:
- Mireille Lavoie
Faculty of Nursing, Laval University, Québec, Canada, G1V 0A6
E-mail: [email protected]
Received date January 14, 2014; Accepted date February 22, 2014; Published date February 28, 2014
Citation: Lavoie M, Godin G, Vézina-Im LA, Blondeau D, Martineau I, et al. (2014) Effect of Knowing Patients’ Wishes and Health Profession on Euthanasia. J Palliat Care Med 4: 169. doi:10.4172/2165-7386.1000169
Copyright: © 2014 Lavoie M, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Background: Respecting patients’ autonomy is often put forward as one of the main reasons why certain health professionals are favourable to euthanasia. Few studies have compared whether nurses and physicians hold different beliefs regarding euthanasia. The objective of the study was to experimentally test whether knowing patients’ wishes and profession can affect health professionals’ intentions and beliefs regarding performing euthanasia. Methods: This a 2×2 random factorial design study (experimental conditions: patient’s wishes known or not; professions: nurses or physicians). A vignette describing the case of a person near death was used to manipulate knowledge of patient’s wishes. Random samples of nurses and physicians from the province of Québec, Canada, were obtained using random digit tables. Samples were weighted according to the domains of practice and medical specialties included in the study. Data were collected by means of an anonymous questionnaire based on an extended version of the Theory of Planned Behaviour. Results: Overall, the response rate was 41.3%. There was a significant known wishes×profession interaction for intention, F (3, 266)=7.38, p=0.0070 and only a known wishes effect for the other beliefs, F (6, 256)=2.86, p=0.0102. Scores for intention and the other beliefs were lower among physicians who were exposed to the vignette where patient’s wishes were unknown. Conclusion: Knowing patients’ wishes regarding euthanasia appears to influence physicians, but not nurses. This is the first study to test whether knowledge of patient’s wishes and profession have an impact on health professionals’ intention and beliefs regarding euthanasia.