Death and dying is a very sensitive subject in everyday life, while in the healthcare setting many of us are faced with uncomfortable decisions and dilemmas when trying to be both patient and family advocates. There are many conditions that will cause death in spite of treatment. In these cases, patients can decide what they want and do not want done. They can make their own decisions about aggressive treatments that might prolong their life or stop treatment which may mean dying sooner but more comfortably. These decisions affect everyone involved.
The end- of- life care focuses on making patients comfortable. Medication and treatments are given to control pain and other symptoms. Patients may choose to die at home, hospital or utilize hospice services. To help patients with end- of- life decisions, the state of Oregon enacted the Oregon Death and Dignity Act (ODDM) in 1997. This Act legalized physician- assisted suicide, here on known as PAS. The article titled “Dilemmas Encountered by Hospice Workers When Patients Wish to Hasten Death” reports the qualitative study of some of the issues both hospice nurses and social workers deal with when they are a part of the healthcare team of patients who choose PAS to “hasten death”. Harvath, Miller, Smith, Clark, Jackson, and Ganzini (2006).
The study was phase two of a two part-study. It involved interviewing subjects (nurses and social workers) to explore their experiences in both the clinical and ethical dilemmas while dealing with patients who choose dying with assisted-suicide and VRFF (voluntary refusal of
Death and Dying
food and fluids). This is another means for patients to hasten death and is legal throughout the United States. The subjects were selected according to the various demographic variables of a survey they took to ensure diversity of opinions and experiences related to the study. They each had open-ended interviews and were asked to describe their experience, views,...
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