Euthanasia requests from patients with dementia

Monday 11 September 2023, 4:30 pm
PhD student
J. Schuurmans drs.
prof. dr. Y.M.P. Engels, prof. dr. M.G.M. Olde Rikkert

Even though euthanasia, on the basis of a previous AED, is now possible by law for persons with advanced dementia in the Netherlands, only a minority of GPs support this. Euthanasia in dementia places an ethically and emotionally heavy burden on elderly care physicians and GPs in the Netherlands. We found that many Dutch GPs experience emotional burden, uncertainty on assessment of patients’ mental competence, handling AEDs and pressure from relatives and the patient concerning euthanasia requests from a PWD. In line with this, GPs look for more support from other healthcare professionals and training to improve their knowledge and skills on this complex topic. Together with the rise in number and complexity of this case load, this warrants primary care support and training for the quickly growing end of live care needs of patients with dementia and their caregivers. Four themes of forms of support were identified and prioritized, namely: (1) support provided by healthcare professionals, which was considered most important, (2) influencing the public opinion, (3) educational activities, and (4) managing time and work pressure.

After his studies, Jaap Schuurmans gained work experience in various Dutch hospitals and followed his GP training in Plymouth, southwest England. He has been a practicing general practitioner in Groesbeek for over 28 years. For 5 years he has been an board member of the National Association of General Practitioners. Associated as a palliative physician with the regional consultation team employed by the Comprehensive Cancer Center of the Netherlands. He has contributed to several opinion articles in both quality public dailies and medical professional journals. He contributed to professional textbook articles. .Co-editor of E-Pall.