Almost two in three doctors believe terminally ill patients are treated for longer than they should be, which is often against their best interests, according to research by Dutch medical magazine Medisch Contact.
Many of the 726 doctors questioned for the survey felt treatment continues for too long because doctors are trained to carry on. But they also believe patients and family members pressure doctors to continue treatment and patients can be unwilling to accept they will die, the research shows.
Three out of four doctors say the patient’s decision should be decisive when deciding whether or not to switch to palliative care only.
In addition, the research found some 31% of the doctors questioned say costs ‘sometimes’ play a role in the decision-making process. Six out of 10 say the cost of treatment should not be taken into account.