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When a Patient Discusses Assisted Dying: Nursing Practice Implications

Lehto, Rebecca H. PhD, RN; Olsen, Douglas P. PhD, RN; Chan, Roxanne Raffin PhD, RN

Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing: June 2016 - Volume 18 - Issue 3 - p 184–191
doi: 10.1097/NJH.0000000000000246
Ethics Series
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Patients with terminal illness in their final stages of life may contemplate their options for death and dying. There has been growing public interest and media attention regarding patient decision making and autonomy at the end of life. The article provides updated legal and ethical discussion about issues and trends associated with the assisted dying debate. A case study of a patient who was considering assisted dying via moving to the state of Oregon is presented. Practical strategies and resources for palliative care and hospice nurses who may have dialogue with patients relative to end-of-life concerns are described.

Rebecca H. Lehto, PhD, RN, is associate professor, College of Nursing, Michigan State University, East Lansing.

Douglas P. Olsen, PhD, RN, is associate professor, College of Nursing, Michigan State University, East Lansing.

Roxanne Raffin Chan, PhD, RN, is assistant professor, College of Nursing, Michigan State University, East Lansing.

Address correspondence to Rebecca H. Lehto, PhD, RN, 1355 Bogue St, Room #C-344, East Lansing, MI 48824 (rebecca.lehto@hc.msu.edu).

Funding was provided by a Michigan State University CTSI grant (GA013811).

The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose.

© 2016 by The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association.