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Use of hermeneutic research in understanding the meaning of desire for euthanasia

Mak, Yvonne and Elwyn, Glyn 2003. Use of hermeneutic research in understanding the meaning of desire for euthanasia. Palliative Medicine 17 (5) , pp. 395-402. 10.1191/0269216303pm775oa

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The philosophy of palliative care is holistic, paying attention to the multidimensional needs of the terminally ill in promoting quality of life and relieving suffering. These needs have to be viewed within their cultural, temporal and social contexts. Thus in conducting patient need-based research, the patients' perspectives are vital data in providing intimate insight into the core issues of any phenomenon under study. This paper aims to illustrate the usefulness of hermeneutic philosophy in palliative care research, as demonstrated in a study to understand the meaning of desire for euthanasia directly from the terminally ill. Two particular aspects of the study are emphasized, namely the research methodology and research process, rather than its findings regarding the meaning of desire for euthanasia. Hermeneutic philosophy parallels that of palliative care, as it also values human experience and social contexts. This approach allows in-depth understanding into a phenomenon in a humane and holistic manner, with adherence to methodological and scientific rigour. The process of hermeneutic interpretation can also promote evidence-based reflective practice. The adoption of a hermeneutic attitude in clinical practice can refine professional self-development in the art of communication and caring.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Communication; euthanasia; Gadamer; hermeneutics; palliative care; reflective practice.
Publisher: Sage
ISSN: 1477-030X
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2017 15:58

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