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Professionals think that there aren't criteria for certifying that an illness is terminal
Date:7/13/2010

This release is available in Spanish.

Physicians that have to decide whether an illness is terminal think that "there are not valid and adequate criteria for certifying that an illness is terminal". This is the conclusion drawn from a pioneer study conducted at the University of Granada, and recently published in the International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology (IJCHP).

For the purpose of this study, 42 health professionals were thoroughly interviewed. Of this group, 21 were physicians and 21 were nurses working with terminally-ill patients in hospitals in the province of Granada. Of the 42 participants, 22 were women and 20 were men with ages between 23 and 52. Of the participants, 17 worked in community health centers, 18 worked in public hospitals, 4 in combined units and 3 worked in private health centers.

This study revealed interesting findings. The answers given by the professionals interviewed revealed that the diagnosing of terminal illness in their daily work differs depending on the type of health centre primary or specialized care and the type of professional physician or nurse.

Use of euphemisms

Concretely, those professionals working in community health centers both physicians and nurses use and record "terminal illness" diagnosis to define the clinical condition of their patients. On the other hand, the answers provided by professionals working in public hospitals differ significantly: while nurses use euphemisms or synonyms rather than "terminal illness" diagnosis, physicians use this diagnosis in professional circles and, although they are aware of this circumstance, they avoid using it in their medical reports.

This research conducted at the University of Granada reveals that health professionals have difficult
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Contact: Mara Paz Garca Caro
mpazgc@ugr.es
34-958-242-895
University of Granada
Source:Eurekalert  

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