Nurses’ Attitudes Toward Advance Directives in Lithuania
The aim of this article was to reveal the preliminary trends in the attitudes of professional nurses toward advance directives in Lithuania as well as to address some of the key ethical issues in end-of-life care in clinical practice. METHODS. The study used one of the qualitative methods – a structural interview. RESULTS. The nurse as an advocate in favor of patient welfare is one of the most significant professional nursing roles in the end-of-life care. The study revealed very poor knowledge of nurses about the living will. Despite the fact that the most respondents think that it is ethical to consider and sign advance directives, less than one-third of them think that advance directives would help to solve the problem of responsibility sharing between the patient and health care professionals and would make the health care professionals’ work easier when making decisions in patient care. CONCLUSIONS. The awareness level of advance directives and their implications among Lithuanian nursing professionals is low. Nurses have an increasing interest to get more familiar with advance directives and discuss legal and ethical aspects related to nursing practice at the end of life. The lack of dialogue between nurses and physicians regarding standards of end-of-life decision making including advance directives legislation in the future was highly emphasized.
Correspondence to A. Blaževičienė Nursing Department, Faculty of Nursing, Medical Academy, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Eivenių 4, LT-50161 Kaunas, Lithuania. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org