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Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 295–303 | Cite as

Do Spanish Hospital Professionals Educate Their Patients About Advance Directives?

A Descriptive Study in a University Hospital in Madrid, Spain
  • María Pérez
  • Benjamín Herreros
  • Mª Dolores Martín
  • Julia Molina
  • Jack Kanouzi
  • María Velasco
Original Research

Abstract

It is unknown whether hospital-based medical professionals in Spain educate patients about advance directives (ADs). The objective of this research was to determine the frequency of hospital-based physicians’ and nurses’ engagement in AD discussions in the hospital and which patient populations merit such efforts. A short question-and-answer-based survey of physicians and nurses taking care of inpatients was conducted at a university hospital in Madrid, Spain. In total, 283 surveys were collected from medical professionals, of whom 71 per cent were female, with an average age of thirty-four years. Eighty-four per cent had never educated patients about ADs because of lack of perceived responsibility, time, or general knowledge of ADs. Patient populations that warranted AD discussions included those with terminal illnesses (77 per cent), chronic diseases (61 per cent), and elderly patients (43 per cent). Regarding degree of AD understanding in medical professionals: 57 per cent of medical professionals claimed sufficient general knowledge of ADs, 19 per cent understood particulars regarding AD document creation, and 16 per cent were aware of AD regulatory policies. Engagement in AD discussions was considered important by 83 per cent of medical professionals, with 79 per cent interested in participating in such discussions themselves. The majority of hospital physicians and nurses do not educate their patients about ADs, despite acknowledging their importance. Patient populations of highest priority included those with terminal diseases or chronic illness or who are of advanced age.

Keywords

Advance directives Living will Anticipated directives 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The research team would like to thank Venktesh Ramnath for his work revising and editing this article.

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Copyright information

© Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Pty Ltd. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • María Pérez
    • 1
  • Benjamín Herreros
    • 2
    • 3
  • Mª Dolores Martín
    • 3
    • 4
  • Julia Molina
    • 3
    • 5
  • Jack Kanouzi
    • 3
  • María Velasco
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Internal Medicine UnitUniversity Hospital Alcorcon Foundation (UHAF)MadridSpain
  2. 2.Internal Medicine UnitUniversity Hospital Alcorcon FoundationAlcorconSpain
  3. 3.Francisco Vallés Clinical Ethics InstituteEuropean University of MadridMadridSpain
  4. 4.Preventive Medicine UnitRey Juan Carlos HospitalMadridSpain
  5. 5.Research UnitUHAFMadridSpain

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