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This study was conducted to examine the ideas of elderly individuals on life, death and treatment at
the end-of-life in order to understand what the basis for such views is.
Design and participants:
Dialogues with eight individuals were conducted and analyzed according to the Vancouver
School of doing phenomenology
All participants agreed on the necessity to limit life prolongation if there was no hope of recovery, much
suffering, mental and physical ability compromised, no possibility of living a decent life and being a burden to others. The
participants based their attitudes toward end-of-life treatment on the likely outcome in view of medical information;
evaluation of their own lives by considering their age and health and views toward life and death; the impact on loved
ones; experience of illness, death and loss and considering ethical aspects of such decisions.
A model of end-of-life discussion between a physician and a patient is presented: The discussion takes place
within an ethical and cultural framework, which is sometimes discussed. Physicians give information on diagnosis,
prognosis, treatment options and the likely outcome. The patient evaluates the information in view of his/her own life and
considers the impact of his/her illness and the treatment on loved ones. The patient also considers the experience of illness
and previous health care decisions whether his/her own or the experience of others. Each factor has a negative and a
positive side toward treatment. The decision on treatment can then be made collectively.