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Palliative Care and End of Life Issues |

End-of-Life Care Beliefs Among Hindu Physicians in the United States

Vijaya Sivalingam Ramalingam, MD; Fahad Saeed, MD; Ramapriya Sinnakirouchenan, MD; Jean Holley, MD; Sinnakirouchenan Srinivasan, MD
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Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals, Milwaukee, WI


Chest. 2013;144(4_MeetingAbstracts):753A. doi:10.1378/chest.1702111
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Abstract

SESSION TITLE: End of Life Care Posters

SESSION TYPE: Original Investigation Poster

PRESENTED ON: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 01:30 PM - 02:30 PM

PURPOSE: Several studies exist about end-of-life care beliefs among physicians of various religions in the US and Europe. Many of them showed that physicians’ religiosity is associated with their approach to end-of-life care beliefs. No such studies have focused on Hindu physicians practicing in the US. This study explores the beliefs centering on aspects of end-of-life care among Hindu physicians in the US.

METHODS: A 34 item, computer-assisted, self-administered questionnaire survey was created and distributed online with Survey Monkey®. The survey link was sent to 293 Hindu physicians in the US.

RESULTS: 99 physicians completed the survey (33.7% response rate). Some questions were not answered, hence the number of responses per question varied. When asked about the option of DNR, 67 of 85 (77%) respondents discuss with the patient first while 18 (20.7%) talk with the family first. 67% also involve families. When asked if DNR is allowed in Hinduism, 52 of 86 (59.09%) responded yes while only 2 said it is not allowed. 32 (36.36%) reported never having thought about this. 73 of 85 (83.9%) responded that religious beliefs do not conflict with withdrawing life support or making a patient comfort care. Irrespective of the personal experience in providing care to terminally ill patients, nearly 90% of respondents were open to withdrawal of life support in terminally ill patients.

CONCLUSIONS: Most participants believed that their religious beliefs do not influence their practice of medicine and do not interfere with administering IV fluids, sedation, or analgesia to a terminally ill patient.

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: This study, the first one dedicated to understand end-of-life care beliefs among Hindu physicians practicing in the US, revealed that their religious beliefs do not influence their practice of medicine and do not interfere with initiating comfort care measures or withdrawing treatments in a terminally ill patient. The US practice of discussing end-of-life issues with the patient, rather than primarily with the family, seems to have been adopted by them.

DISCLOSURE: The following authors have nothing to disclose: Vijaya Sivalingam Ramalingam, Fahad Saeed, Ramapriya Sinnakirouchenan, Jean Holley, Sinnakirouchenan Srinivasan

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