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Telephone consultations on palliative sedation therapy and euthanasia in general practice in The Netherlands in 2003: a report from inside

van Heest, F., Finlay, Ilora Gillian, Kramer, J., Otter, R and Meyboom-de Jong, B 2009. Telephone consultations on palliative sedation therapy and euthanasia in general practice in The Netherlands in 2003: a report from inside. Family Practice 26 (6) , pp. 481-487. 10.1093/fampra/cmp069

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Abstract

Background. GPs with a special interest and with specific training in palliative medicine (GP advisors) supported professional carers (mostly GPs) through a telephone advisory service. Each telephone call was formally documented on paper and subsequently evaluated. Objective. Data from 2003 were analysed independently to reveal how often and in what way palliative sedation and euthanasia were discussed. Methods. The telephone documentation forms and corresponding evaluation forms of two GP advisors were systematically analysed for problems relating to the role of sedation and/or euthanasia both quantitatively and qualitatively. Results. In 87 (21%) of 415 analysed consultations, sedation and/or euthanasia were discussed either as the presenting question (sedation 26 times, euthanasia 37 times and both 10 times) or arising during discussion (sedation 11 times and euthanasia three times). Qualitative analysis revealed that GPs telephoned to explore therapeutic options and/or wanted specific information. Pressure on the GP (either internal or external) to relieve suffering (including shortening life by euthanasia) had often precipitated the call. On evaluation, 100% of the GPs reported that the advice received was of value in the patient's care. Conclusion. GPs caring for patients dying at home encountered complex clinical dilemmas in end-of-life care (including palliative sedation therapy and euthanasia). They valued practical advice from, and open discussion with, GP advisors. The advice often helped the GP find solutions to the patient's problems that did not require deliberately foreshortening life.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Consultation; general practice; sedation; terminal care; voluntary euthanasia
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0263-2136
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 03:49
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/27271

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