Community Knowledge of Law at the End of Life: Availability and Accessibility of Web-Based Resources
(2018) Australian Health Review 42(3), pp. 266-271.
Posted: 23 Oct 2017 Last revised: 18 Aug 2018
Date Written: October 22, 2017
Objective: The aim of the present study was to identify online resources community members may access to inform themselves about their legal duties and rights in end-of-life decision making. Methods: Resource mapping identified online resources that members of the public in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland are likely to identify, and assessed the ease or difficulty in locating them. Resources were then critically analysed for accessibility of language and format using the Patient Education Materials Assessment Tool (PEMAT). Results: Identified resources differed considerably based on whether search terms identified by community members or experts were used. Most resources focused on advance directives, enduring powers of attorney and substitute decision making. Relatively few provided information about legal duties (e.g. powers and responsibilities of substitute decision makers) or resolving conflict with health practitioners. Accessibility (understandability and actionability) of resource content varied. Conclusions: Although numerous resources on end-of-life law are available online, community members may not be able to identify relevant resources or find resource content accessible.
Keywords: Medical law, Health law, End of life decision-making, Community knowledge of law, Web based legal resources, Withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatment, Palliative care, Adult guardianship
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