Attitudes of nurses in Belgium towards euthanasia and their role in euthanasia.

A Survey of Nurses Attitudes in Flanders, Belgium

A survey of nurses’ attitudes to, and their role in, legalised euthanasia has been carried out in Belgium.  The survey concluded that 92 per cent of nurses accepted euthanasia for terminally ill patients with extreme and uncontrollable pain or other distress, while 70 per cent believed that euthanasia could be avoided through optimal palliative care.  90 per cent of nurses thought nurses should be involved in euthanasia decision-making.  Although 61 per cent did not agree that administering lethal drugs was a task nurses should be allowed to perform, 43 per cent would be prepared to do so. Nurses with a religious faith were less accepting of euthanasia than other nurses. Older nurses believed more than others in the ability of good palliative care to prevent euthanasia requests and in putting the patient into a coma until death rather than resorting to euthanasia. Female and home care nurses were less inclined than male and hospital and nursing home nurses to administer lethal drugs.


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