Tag Archives: Legal issues

Culture and End of Life Care: A Scoping Exercise in Seven European Countries

A recently published article from the PRISMA project provides a general overview of cultural issues in end of life care in seven European countries.

The abstract can be found below or the full article can be accessed here.

Aim

Culture is becoming increasingly important in relation to end of life (EoL) care in a context of globalization, migration and European integration. We explore and compare socio-cultural issues that shape EoL care in seven European countries and critically appraise the existing research evidence on cultural issues in EoL care generated in the different countries.

Methods

We scoped the literature for Germany, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Portugal, carrying out electronic searches in 16 international and country-specific databases and handsearches in 17 journals, bibliographies of relevant papers and webpages. We analysed the literature which was unearthed, in its entirety and by type (reviews, original studies, opinion pieces) and conducted quantitative analyses for each country and across countries. Qualitative techniques generated themes and sub-themes.

Results

A total of 868 papers were reviewed. The following themes facilitated cross-country comparison: setting, caregivers, communication, medical EoL decisions, minority ethnic groups, and knowledge, attitudes and values of death and care. The frequencies of themes varied considerably between countries. Sub-themes reflected issues characteristic for specific countries (e.g. culture-specific disclosure in the southern European countries). The work from the seven European countries concentrates on cultural traditions and identities, and there was almost no evidence on ethnic minorities.

Conclusion

This scoping review is the first comparative exploration of the cultural differences in the understanding of EoL care in these countries. The diverse body of evidence that was identified on socio-cultural issues in EoL care, reflects clearly distinguishable national cultures of EoL care, with differences in meaning, priorities, and expertise in each country. The diverse ways that EoL care is understood and practised forms a necessary part of what constitutes best evidence for the improvement of EoL care in the future.

Book Review: The Maintenance of Life: Preventing Social Death through Euthanasia Talk and End-of-Life Care – Lessons from the Netherlands

Frances Norwood’s book ‘The Maintenance of Life: Preventing Social Death through Euthanasia Talk and End- of-Life Care – Lessons from the Netherlands’ provides an in-depth look into end-of-life care in the Netherlands and how legal euthanasia has helped to shape this landscape.

The book draws on 15 months of qualitative data including direct observation and in-depth interviews with general practitioners, end-of-life patients and their family members.

Norwood argues that conversations concerning euthanasia rarely culminate in a euthanasia death. Furthermore, these discussions open up a more general discussion about end-of-life between patients, their families and healthcare professionals. They can provide a space for patients to talk about their suffering, reaffirming social bonds and self-identity, helping to prevent “social death.”

Norwood examines how the euthanasia policy in the Netherlands has shaped the experience of patients at the end-of-life and how this compares with the situation in the United States.

Reviewer – Erin VW Andrew

Palliative care as a human right

The International Association for Hospice & Palliative Care (IAHPC) and the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance (WPCA) have developed a Joint Declaration and Statement of Commitment to recognize palliative care and pain treatment as a human right.

To read the Declaration choose language below:

English click here; French click here; Russian click here; and, Spanish click here.

If you wish to sign the Declaration:

Individuals click here
Representatives of Organizations click here

NOTE: Only for legal representatives such as presidents, CEOs or executive directors. All others please click on the Individual signature form.

PhD opportunity: bioethical and legal ramifications of end of life decisions

The following PhD advertised by Birmingham Law School may be of interest to our readers:

Bioethical and legal ramifications of end of life decisions

PhD research will explore the bioethical and legal ramifications of end of life decisions. Bioethical and legal dilemmas, which are everywhere, are even more clear in patient care at the end of life, as decisions about supporting or ending life interventions are made daily. Decisions are affected by the culture, values, and religion of those who have to make those decisions, and this becomes even more difficult when a clash exists between those giving the care and those receiving it.

For more information click here