Evaluating the impact of medical aid in dying on bereaved relatives: a prospective cohort study of grief, health consequences and bereavement care
Background: Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD), i.e. the administration of lethal drugs at the request of the patient, can confront physicians, patients and their families with substantial challenges and demands. Given its ethical contentiousness, MAiD remains a heavily debated medical and societal theme and concerns about developments in MAiD practice persist. Although the impact of MAiD on the patient’s relatives is a major concern, little attention has been paid to the experiences of relatives in scientific research.
Aims: This study aims to gain a thorough understanding of grief, health consequences and bereavement care needs and provision among relatives of people with cancer who died by MAiD. To determine the impact of MAiD on bereaved relatives, we aim to study 1) grief and health consequences and 2) bereavement care needs and provision among relatives of people with cancer who died by MAiD.
Methods and results: To achieve this goal, we will conduct a prospective cohort study in which relatives of persons who died by MAiD (exposure group) are matched to relatives of persons who died without MAiD (control group).
Secondly, we will qualitatively explore the experiences of relatives of persons who died by MAiD. This project will provide substantial insights into the impact of MAiD on bereaved relatives, how they cope, and the type and quality of care that is provided. As such, the findings of this project will make an important contribution in terms of research, practice and policy around MAiD practice.
Dr. Sigrid Dierickx
Prof. Kenneth Chambaere
Prof. Luc Deliens
Prof. Joachim Cohen
Research Foundation Flanders