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

ies in certifying terminal illnesses. The question emerges on whether such situation could be preventing palliative care from being provided to a significant number of terminal patients. This means that many terminal patients are being deprived from professional assistance aimed at helping them in facing the end of their lives, and at providing them an acceptable quality of life. Additionally, professionals have a distorted view of the role and purpose of palliative assistance, since they are emotionally conditioned by a diagnosis that in our society is associated to a "death sentence".

This study was co-authored by Mara Paz Garca Caro, Francisco Cruz Quintana, Jacqueline Schmidt Ro Valle, Antonio Muoz Vinuesa, Rafael Montoya Jurez, Diego Prados Pea y Miguel C. Botella Lpez from the University of Granada, and Atthanasios Pappous, from the University of Kent, United Kingdom.

Patients with cancer

For a deeper understanding of the difficulties that a diagnosis of "terminal illness" involves and its consequences, health professionals were asked what illnesses get diagnosed as "terminal" and when such diagnosis is disclosed. For most physicians and nurses, "terminal illness" diagnosis is associated only to patients with cancer. However, a significant number of professionals working in community health centers also associate this diagnosis to patients with an advanced stage of some chronic and/or degenerative non-cancerous illness.

As regards terminal diagnosis, it is mostly associated to patients in preagony or agony phase. This opinion is shared by most professionals working both in hospitals and in community health centers.

The study emphasizes the fact that, although the criteria and references for diagnosing a terminal illness at least in oncological cases were defined 20 years ago, such diagnosis is still employed in a very restrictive way. Diagnosis of a terminal illness i
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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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