Navigation Links
Study finds most Oregon hospices do not fully participate in the Death with Dignity Act

A survey in the latest issue of the Hastings Center Report found that most hospices in Oregon, the first state to legalize physician-assistance in dying, either do not participate in or have limited participation in requests for such assistance. Both legal and moral reasons are identified.

This finding is significant because hospices are considered important for assuring that physician-assisted death is carried out responsibly, write the authors, Courtney S. Campbell, the Hundere Professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University, and Jessica C. Cox, the Hundere Program Assistant and a second year graduate student at Oregon State. Most patients in Oregon who choose physician-assisted death are enrolled in hospice care. Hospices' role is largely confined to providing information about the law in a neutral manner, the study found. Patients must then work on their own to find physicians who are willing to help them die.

The survey report was based on responses from 55 hospice programs in Oregon, or 86 percent of the total. It compared their policy statements, program guidelines, and staff education materials to address patient inquiries about the Death with Dignity Act. The act, passed in 1995, permits physicians to prescribe a fatal dose of medication to a terminally ill patient who requests it, as long as several criteria are met. Twenty-five percent of the hospices surveyed did not participate in the law at all and 27 percent had limited participation, meaning that when patients asked about physician-assisted death a staff member merely referred them to the attending physician without any conversation.

All of the hospices prohibited staff from helping patients obtain and take medications to end their lives. Few of the programs had a policy allowing staff to be with patients when they took life-ending medication.

The study identified legal and moral reasons for these restrictions. Since Oregon's Death with Dignity Act sanctions aid in dying from a physician only, a compassionate hospice staff member who offers assistance risks violating laws against assisting suicide, mercy killing, active euthanasia, or homicide. Certain values also inhibit hospices from participating more fully in physician-assisted death. "Core values (such as commitments not to abandon patients and to neither hasten nor postpone death) are necessarily in tension and do not lend themselves to a clear consensual conclusion for hospice providers," the authors write.

The authors conclude that hospices can avoid the legal and moral obstacles by adopting a position of "studied neutrality," which recognizes a diversity of views among providers and patients about physician-assisted death and encourages open discussion about the issue. "This approach can bring much-needed dialogue and transparency to a process that is unnecessarily opaque, permit hospice programs to acknowledge tensions in their core values, and promote efforts to assure congruence among values, policies, and procedures," they write.


Contact: Michael Turton
845-424-4040 x242
The Hastings Center

Related medicine news :

1. VCU Medical Center leads study of first US portable driver for powering the total artificial heart
2. Smoking Could Harm Sperm, Study Finds
3. UC Davis study finds low liver cancer survival rates among Laotian/Hmong-Americans
4. Team to study health effects of botanical estrogens
5. Institute for Aging Research study finds indoor and outdoor fall are different for the elderly
6. Study finds more Americans bypassing their personal physician when immediate treatment required
7. Autistic Toddlers Prefer to Gaze at Geometric Patterns: Study
8. Many hospital emergency department visits could be treated elsewhere, study finds
9. Study examines association between urban living and psychotic disorders
10. Mouse Study May Help Explain Fish Oils Benefits
11. Infants May Display Subtle Autism Signs at 6 Months: Study
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/24/2015)... City, UT (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... Forbes Magazine. For a business, it is critical that the first impression be positive ... business, they are not likely to buy anything or want to return. They will ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 2015 , ... In response to recent news highlighting Oxycodone fraud, Novus Medical ... the United States grew 400 percent between 1999 and 2010, far more than the ... percent of all fatal drug overdoses. (1) , While oxycodone and the extended release ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... The American Association ... their local poison centers through donations on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. Since 2012, ... day that inspires people to collaborate in improving their local communities and help ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 24, 2015 , ... With Thanksgiving right around the corner, holiday travel season ... protect your family and vehicle. , According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, ... is sharing the following safety tips from the NHTSA: , ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Abington Hospital ... Aetna Institute of Quality® Bariatric Surgery Facility for treating individuals living with morbid ... health care services available to its members to help them make informed decisions ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015   HeartWare International, Inc ... less-invasive, miniaturized circulatory support technologies that are revolutionizing the ... and Chief Executive Officer Doug Godshall is ... Annual Healthcare Conference on December 1, 2015 at ... 1-2 in New York . ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015  Ascendant Solutions, Inc. (Pink Sheets: ASDS ... of Directors has declared a special 1 percent stock dividend ... payable December 14, 2015, to shareholders of record December 7, ... additional shares of common stock. --> ... a strong endorsement of our confidence in Ascendant,s growth strategy ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015  Figure 1, a free mobile-first ... medical cases, has launched a new completely redesigned web ... version allows radiologists, who work primarily on a desktop, ... engage with its radiologist user base, Figure 1 is ... North America (RSNA) Annual Meeting. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: