Doctors are less likely to resuscitate the most seriously ill patients in the wake of the pandemic, a survey suggests.
Covid-19 may have changed doctors’ decision-making regarding end of life, making them more willing not to resuscitate very sick or frail patients and raising the threshold for referral to intensive care, according to the results of the research published in the Journal of Medical Ethics.
However, the pandemic has not changed their views on euthanasia and doctor-assisted dying, with about a third of respondents still strongly opposed to these policies, the survey responses reveal.
The Covid-19 pandemic transformed many aspects of clinical medicine, including end-of-life care, prompted by millions more patients than usual requiring it around the world, say the researchers.
In respect of DNACPR, the decision not to attempt to restart a patient’s heart when it or breathing stops, more than half the respondents were more willing to do this than they had been previously.
Asked about the contributory factors, the most frequently cited were: “likely futility of CPR” (88% pre-pandemic, 91% now); coexisting conditions (89% both pre-pandemic and now); and patient wishes (83.5% pre-pandemic, 80.5% now). Advance care plans and “quality of life” after resuscitation were also commonly cited.
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Source: The Guardian, 25 July 2022