Physician-assisted death is becoming legal in an increasing number of jurisdictions, but psychiatric patients are often explicitly excluded. However, in some countries, including the Netherlands, physician-assisted death of psychiatric patients is allowed. This Open Forum describes a patient with schizophrenia and symptoms diagnosed as refractory musical hallucinations. The patient requested assistance in dying only to recover after a mandatory second opinion, where his complaints were recognized as intrusive thoughts and treated accordingly. This case is used to reflect on how to deal with uncertainty about physician-assisted death of psychiatric patients and to argue for implementation of a due-diligence procedure, such as the one proposed in the Dutch Psychiatric Association's recent guideline concerning this issue.
We consider uncertainty in relation to clinical trials for terminal non-small cell lung cancer, which is an aggressive and difficult to treat form of cancer. Using grounded theory to analyse 85 clinical interactions between doctors, patients and family members, we argue that uncertainty is a major source of tension for terminally ill patients, with individuals confronting a choice between transitioning to palliative care or volunteering for an experimental/trial medication that might postpone death. Regardless of their efficacy, patients must also consider how such experimental treatments might impact their quality-of-life. We argue that clinical trials produce uncertainty through (i) discussions about the efficacy of clinical trials; (ii) the physiological consequences of clinical trial medications; and (iii) the impact clinical trials have on patient's prognostic understanding of their terminal cancer. Accordingly, while study participants encounter high prognostic certainty (i.e. they have a fatal cancer), they nonetheless experience considerable uncertainty in relation to their participation in clinical trials.
AIM: To develop a simultaneous, evolutionary concept analysis of moral distress and moral uncertainty in the context of medical assistance in dying (MAiD).
BACKGROUND: Moral distress is well represented in nursing literature but disagreement persists in how the concept is defined and understood. Moral uncertainty has not been investigated in-depth. Further definition and conceptual clarity is required to understand these concepts within the context of MAiD.
DESIGN: Simultaneous concept analysis.
DATA SOURCES: Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Google Scholar, and PubMed databases were searched for articles in English. The final sample consisted of 44 documents published from 1984 to 2019.
METHOD: An adapted combination of Rodgers's Evolutionary Model and Haase et al's Simultaneous Concept Analysis method.
RESULTS: Despite the significant overlap, moral distress and moral uncertainty have subtle distinguishing differences. Attributes of moral distress in the context of MAiD focus on knowing the right course of action but being unable to act, especially when conflict or suffering occurs. Attributes of moral uncertainty center on an inability to decide on which course of action to take or knowing what outcome is preferable.
CONCLUSION: More research is required to bring further clarity to these concepts and develop interventions to support nurses who receive requests for or participate in MAiD.
Psychologue en équipe mobile de soins palliatifs, nous intervenons en pluridisciplinarité en intrahospitalier mais aussiauprès de structures relevant du sanitaire et du social. Nous avons pu constater que les professionnels du handicap ont un lien d'attachement particulier à leurs résidents. L'accompagnement des résidents dans le quotidien et les projets de vie inhérents aux institutions sont le signe d'un transfert et d'un contre-transfert massifs. Dans ce contexte, penser l'éventualité de la mort des résidents est marqué du sceau du refoulement. Le fantasme d'immortalité - "ça n'arrive qu'aux autres" - est présent, ce qui peut empêcher la parole à ce sujet et susciter des angoisses primitives.
OBJECTIVE: to describe the level of uncertainty in illness in family caregivers of palliative care patients and detect associations between the profile of the caregiver and the levels of uncertainty.
METHOD: descriptive correlational study conducted with 300 family caregivers of hospitalized patients. The sociodemographic characterization of caregiver and patient was used to assess the caregiver profile, as well as the Uncertainty in Illness scale for family caregivers. Spearman's Rho correlation test was applied to detect associations.
RESULTS: the average score of illness uncertainty was 91.7 points. The analysis showed significant correlations between the level of uncertainty and patient dependence (r=0.18, p=0.001), symptom assessment (r=0.312, p<0.001), length of service as a caregiver (r=0.131, p=0.023), perception of support from health professionals (r=-0.16, p=0.048), family (r=-0.145, p=0.012) and religious support (r=-0.131, p=0.050).
CONCLUSIONS: there were high levels of uncertainty in caregivers about their patient's illness. These levels are associated with the health condition and symptoms of the patient who is cared for, the length of service as a caregiver and the perceived support from health professionals, family and religion.
I explore the complexities of moral experience during the phase of life after a terminal diagnosis by examining the experiences of one woman living as a hospice patient in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. Introducing the notion of “existential ambivalence,” I show that this can be a period of deep uncertainty, in which what matters to individuals can shift and fluctuate through time, not necessarily lining up with collective ideals of “the good death.” I focus on a promise this woman made that continued to pull her toward a version of living well while she was also pulled toward dying.
How providers of end-of-life care perceive spirituality both within themselves and for others can directly impact their ability to provide spiritual care to patients and families. Uncertainty about spirituality can contribute to the awkwardness of spiritual care. Spiritual uncertainty includes the questions, worries, and doubts people have about the meaning, beliefs, connections, self-transcendence, and value that comprise spirituality. This article reports qualitative findings from a mixed-methods study that sought to understand spiritual uncertainty among hospice providers. Data were collected from 28 hospice team members (nurses, physicians, social workers, and expressive therapist) using focus groups, reflective journals, and one-on-one interviews. An overarching theme emerged that described the tensions perceived by providers caring for hospice patients. Those tensions were further categorized as being interpersonal, intrapersonal, and transpersonal in nature. The identification of tension as a source of strain for providers delivering spiritual care is necessary to the development of future interventions that can assist providers and patients navigating end-of-life spirituality.