Role and involvement of life end information forum physicians in euthanasia and other end-of-life care decisions in flanders, Belgium

  • Van Wesemael Y
  • Cohen J
  • Onwuteaka-Philipsen B
 et al. 
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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To describe role and involvement of Life End Information Forum (LEIF) physicians in end-of-life care decisions and euthanasia in Flanders. STUDY DESIGN: All 132 LEIF physicians in Belgium received a questionnaire inquiring about their activities in the past year, and their end-of-life care training and experience. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Response rate was 75 percent. Most respondents followed substantive training in end-of-life care. In 1 year, LEIF physicians were contacted 612 times for consultations in end-of-life decisions, of which 355 concerned euthanasia requests eventually resulting in 221 euthanasia cases. LEIF physicians also gave information about various end-of-life issues (including palliative care) to patients and colleagues. CONCLUSIONS: LEIF physicians provide a forum for information and advice for physicians and patients. A similar health service providing support to physicians for all end-of-life decisions could also be beneficial for countries without a euthanasia law.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Consultation
  • End-of-life decisions
  • Euthanasia

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