This survey study of 1,798 Swedish health care workers in 31 acute and chronic institutional settings found considerable disagreement between staff concerning euthanasia. For example, attitudes of aides and LPNs, were significantly (chi 2 = 42.0, P less than .0001) more favorable toward active euthanasia (38.9% of aides and 28.8% of LPNs were neutral or approved) than were RNs and physicians (20% and 14.9%). This disagreement was most apparent among those staff in institutions with many demented patients. Favorable attitudes were also more frequent among aides experiencing job dissatisfaction and "burnout," younger staff, and those without a relative in long-term care. Possible reasons for favorable attitudes toward active euthanasia and staff attitude polarization are discussed along with implications for patient care.
Results of a comparative investigation in Swedish and German nurses are presented. Based on a case-vignette with three levels of available information about patient wishes the subjects were asked about their decisions. Generally, the Swedish nurses showed a tendency towards less aggressive treatment-options and to perform less frequent cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) against the patient written will compared with the Germans. The compliance with patient wishes among nurses from both countries was related with the valuation of the patient directive as a useful tool in their decision-making process. Furthermore, the "level of dementia" emerged as a significant predictor of the treatment decision in both groups. The results point to the necessity of continuous education and training of nurses aiming at the issues of ethical attitudes and coping with ethically problematic situations in the treatment of the elderly in order to improve patient autonomy.
A non-anonymous questionnaire was distributed to all nursing staff (n = 557) including RNs, LPNs (psychiatric), LPNs (somatic) and nurses' aides, in one nursing home, one somatic long-term care clinic and one psychogeriatric clinic. Scales measuring empathy, burnout experience and attitudes towards demented patients were included in the questionnaire. The aim of the study was to compare levels of empathy, burnout experience and attitudes among different categories of nursing staff and to examine connections between empathy, burnout and attitudes. The nursing staff showed an overall figure of moderately well-developed empathy and the RNs showed the highest empathy. The RNs had a significantly lower degree of burnout compared to the nurses' aides and the LPNs. Of all respondents, 27.4% were assessed at risk from burnout. Overall, the staff showed a moderately positive attitude towards demented patients and the RNs were most positive. No linear correlation was found between empathy, burnout experience and attitudes. However, a weak negative correlation between burnout and empathy is in accordance with other authors who are suggesting that burnout experience leads to lower empathy in the nursing staff. The fact that the RNs showed the most positive attitudes towards demented patients and had the highest level of empathy compared to LPNs and nurses' aides could be related to lower degree of burnout assessed in the RNs. Qualitative and quantitative overload among the LPNs and nurses' aides connected to the growing number of demented patients in the institutions examined are discussed.
Health care students' attitudes towards and intention to care for patients suffering from senile dementia were measured by questionnaire during the last week of their education. The relationship between curriculum content and attitudes and other variables which affect student training is discussed. It was noted that education on dementia lagged behind the needs of students. Factorial analysis of the respondents' answers on the attitudinal items indicates generally negative attitudes to demented patients. Few female, and none of the male, students stated an intention to work with demented patients. Fear of death and experiences of patients dying are described, and are seen as crucial factors in the care of demented patients.
This study is based on questionnaires that were sent to the homes of health care personnel working in geriatric care (N = 583) and acute care (N = 328). The purpose was to investigate differences between these groups of personnel regarding job assignment, intention to transfer to another job, attitudes towards demented patients, and the experience of burnout. The results showed that more persons working in acute care were self-assigned to their jobs than those working in geriatric care. More persons in geriatric care stated a wish to transfer to another job in the health care field than those in acute care. The personnel who constantly work with demented patients showed the most positive attitudes towards this group of patients. A larger proportion of personnel with high burnout scores wanted to transfer to another job, compared to those with low burnout scores.