- How Dutch neurologists involve families of critically ill patients in end-of-life care and decision-making
- Neurology. Clinical Practice
- Volume | Issue number
- 5 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
Faculty of Medicine (AMC-UvA)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
When critically ill neurologic patients are cognitively incapacitated, decisions about treatment options are delegated to surrogates, usually family members. We conducted qualitative interviews with 20 Dutch neurologists and residents in neurology varying in age, work experience, and workplace to investigate how they involve their patients' family members in decision-making. Their reports revealed that they ascribed 3 different, yet tightly interwoven roles to families: (1) informants about values and preferences of patients, (2) participants in care and care planning, and (3) sufferers themselves. Neurologists regarded decision-making as an integral part of end-of-life care rather than an isolated process, changing the meaning of what decision-making entails. All different roles of family members were important in end-of-life care and decision-making, instead of the single one of legal surrogate. Neurologists need to support family members in these various roles.
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