Community Knowledge of Law on End-of-life Decision-Making: An Australian Telephone Survey
Community Knowledge of Law on End-of-Life Decision Making: An Australian Telephone Survey Tilse, C. F., Wilson, J., White, B., Willmott, L., Lawson, D. K., Dunn, J., Aitken, J., Pearce, A. & Ferguson, M., 2019, In : Journal of Law and Medicine. 27, 2, p. 399-414 16 p.
28 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2020
Date Written: February 24, 2020
The law has a clear role to play in supporting patients and their substitute decision makers (SDMs) to be involved in end-of-life (EOL) decision making. Although existing literature suggests that knowledge of EOL law is variable among health professionals, there is little information of the extent and sources of such knowledge within the general community. A telephone survey of a representative sample of adults in three Australian states used six case scenarios to examine the extent to which adults know their legal duties, rights and powers as patients or SDMs; the sources from which people derive relevant legal knowledge, experiences of EOL decision making and individual characteristics associated with levels of knowledge. The results show considerable variation in levels of legal knowledge dependent primarily of the area of decision making presented, some sizeable gaps in people’s knowledge of EOL law, and varied awareness of how to access appropriate information on this subject. This study points to the need to increase community legal literacy around EOL decision making, enhance awareness of the role of law in these circumstances and promote the availability of reliable and accessible information on the law at the time when it is needed.
Keywords: end-of-life decision making, end-of-life law, end-of-life care, health law
JEL Classification: I10, I18, K10, K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation