Euthanasia (EU) and/or physician-assisted suicide (PAS) is legal in some countries and being considered in others. Attitudes to EU/PAS among Danish geriatricians were studied.
An online questionnaire with 12 questions was e-mailed to all members of the Danish Geriatric Society.
The response rate was 46% (120/261). A total of 55.8% (67/120) disagreed that EU is ethically justifiable, whereas 22.5% (27/120) found that EU is justifiable. Furthermore, 13.3% (16/120) agreed that EU should be offered as an alternative to palliative treatment, 73.4% (88/120) disagreed. A total of 64.2% (67/120) disagreed that PAS is ethically justifiable, whereas 19.2% (23/120) found that PAS is justifiable. In all, 15% (18/120) agreed that PAS should be offered as an alternative to palliative treatment, whereas 76.6% (92/120) disagreed. The impact of legalisation of EU/PAS on the relationship between physician and patient was believed to be negative by 62.2% (74/119), positive by 12.6% (15/119) and without implications by 25.2% (30/119). Younger physicians tended to be more positive towards EU/PAS.
The majority of Danish geriatricians are opposed to EU and PAS.
INTRODUCTION: The aim of the present study was to describe the occurrence of antidepressant treatment in geriatric departments in Denmark and assess the notes of the patient records in connection with prescription. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Patient records for consecutively referred patients in seven geriatric departments were examined and basic information was noted. For users of antidepressants further information about the treatment was noted. RESULTS: A total of 1211 patients records were examined and out of these 338 patients were in treatment with antidepressants (29.7%). The users of antidepressants used more drugs on their discharge from the hospital. For 61.8% (209/338) of the users the treatment had started before the admission and in more than three-fourths the treatment remained unchanged at their discharge, in 9% the treatment was discontinued. 38.2% (129/338) started their treatment during the admission. Depression was stated as being the main reason in 54% of those who continued an ongoing treatment, and in 78% of those who started their treatment during admission. In 98.4%, the beginning of treatment with antidepressants was based upon the file notes. In 34.8% of the records of ongoing treatment no file notes were given. DISCUSSION: Treatment with antidepressants is common in geriatric departments and most often it is a question of continuation of a treatment that had started before the admission. The study shows that there is a need for an optimization of the file notes.