The role of nurses in the decision-making and performance of euthanasia and other end-of-life decisions: a representative study in Flanders.

  • Deliens, Luc (Administrative Promotor)
  • Bilsen, Johan (Co-Promotor)
  • Inghelbrecht, Els, (Collaborator)
  • Mortier, Freddy (Co-Promotor)

Project Details


In modern societies death is often preceded by medical end-of-life decisions (ELDs). Previous research has shown the involvement of nurses in ELDs. However these studies have been carried out from physicians’ viewpoint and focused predominantly on their role. Foreign studies show that nurses play an important but underestimated role in ELDs. In Flanders (Belgium) empirical research by means of questioning nurses is lacking. The aim of this study is to get insight in the involvement of nurses in medical practice regarding ELDs in Flanders. The population will consist of nurses working in hospitals, home care or nursing homes. Due to the complexity of the nurses’ role in ELDs and because reliable information about this topic is rather limited in Flanders, representative quantitative research will be preceded by a qualitative explorative phase (focus group and interviews). The qualitative section will primarily focus on the involvement of nurses and the way nurses experience ELDs. The results of this section will be used for the construction of the questionnaire for the quantitative part of the study. In that stage following aspects will be explored: 1) general opinions and attitudes of nurses regarding ELDs; 2) nurses’ latest experiences with the death of a patient by which the nurse was involved as a professional caregiver and where an ELD has taken place and 3) several background characteristics of the patient in question as well as of the nurse himself. By this special attention will be given to the protection of the privacy of the participating patients, nurses and involved instances.
Effective start/end date1/01/0531/12/08


  • physician-assisted suicide
  • nurses
  • research
  • nurses
  • representative study
  • end-of-life decisions
  • euthanasia

Flemish discipline codes

  • Philosophy, ethics and religious studies
  • Sociology and anthropology
  • Health sciences
  • Chemical sciences