The following is a summary of “A Systematic Review of Stakeholder Perspectives of Dignity and Assisted Dying,” published in the February 2023 issue of Pain Management by Quah, et al.
With the advent of the right to dignity and the wish to hasten death (WTHD), the discussion around physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia, and assisted dying had developed. Despite being influenced by regional legal and societal factors, understanding how patients, medical staff, and politicians link conceptions of dignity to self-concepts of personhood and the desire for assisted dying can better guide and advise patient support.
A systematic scoping review (SSR in SEBA) on views of dignity, WTHD, and personhood that were published in PubMed, Embase, PsycINFO, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, CINAHL, Scopus databases, and four important palliative care journals was carried out under the direction of the systematic evidence-based approach. The review focused on three key issues: “What is the relationship between dignity and the wish to hasten death in the assisted dying debate?” “How are patients with WTHD conceptualizing dignity?,” and “What are the prevailing perspectives on the role of assisted dying in maintaining a dying patient’s dignity?”
663 full-text articles were examined after the identification of 6,947 abstracts, and 88 articles were included. The four domains identified are as follows: concepts of dignity through the Ring Theory of Personhood (RToP) lens, including their various definitions and descriptions; the relationship between dignity, WTHD, and assisted dying with loss of dignity and autonomy foregrounded; stakeholder perspectives for and against assisted dying, including those of patients, healthcare providers, and legislators; and other methods that preserve dignity in the place of assisted suicide.
Throughout the patient’s path toward death, ideas about dignity were continually changing. Understanding when and how these ideas of personhood shift and cause the anxiety of a diminished sense of self or unending pain might guide prompt, tailored, and suitable person-centered dignity-preserving efforts. An RToP-based tool might perform the function, and more research into the instrument’s architecture was planned.