The Public’s Viewpoint on the Right to Hastened Death in Alberta, Canada: Findings from a Population Survey Study.

Donna Wilson, Rod Macleod, Joachim Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A research study was conducted to determine public opinion in Alberta, a Canadian province, on the controversial topic of death hastening. Questions on the right to hastened death, end-of-life plans and end-of-life experiences were included in the Population Research Laboratory's annual 2010 health-care telephone survey, with 1203 adults providing results relatively representative of Albertans. Of all 1203, 72.6% said yes to the question: 'Should dying adults be able to request and get help from others to end their life early, in other words, this is a request for assisted suicide'? Among all who provided an answer, 36.8% indicated 'yes, every competent adult should have this right' and 40.6% indicated 'yes, but it should be allowed only in certain cases or situations'. Over 50% of respondents in all but one socio-demographic population sub-group (Religious-other) were supportive of the right to hastened death. However, multinomial regression analysis revealed that the experiences of deciding to euthanise a pet/animal and developing or planning to develop an advance directive predicted support, while self-reported religiosity predicted non-support. Finding majority public support for death hastening suggests that legalisation could potentially occur in the future; but with this policy first requiring a careful consideration of the model of assisted suicide or euthanasia that best protects people who are highly vulnerable to despair and suffering near the end of life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-208
Number of pages9
JournalHealth & Social Care in the Community
Volume21
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013

Keywords

  • attitudes
  • euthanasia
  • canada

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