Journal Article

Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: A Survey of Registered Social Workers in British Columbia


in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 28, issue 2, pages 161-175
Published in print April 1998 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online April 1998 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: A Survey of Registered Social Workers in British Columbia

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This anonymous postal survey explores the attitudes and experiences concerning voluntary euthanasia (VE) and assisted suicide (AS) held by professionally registered members of the British Columbia Association of Social Workers. Social workers determine only a minor moral distinction between VE and AS and a large majority believe both acts should be legal, in certain circumstances (VE 75. 9 per cent; AS 78. 2 per cent). Approximately 80. 0 per cent feel that social workers should be involved in social policy development concerning VE and AS, and, if such acts were to be legal, 70. 0 per cent believe social workers should be involved in the decision making process with clients. Over 21. 0 per cent of all social workers and nearly 40. 0 per cent of social workers with medical employers have been consulted by a patient about VE or AS. Six respondents (1. 1 per cent) reported assisting the death of a patient by VE. None had involvement in AS. Further research and education is required to better inform social work practice in this ethical area. Given the unique position of social workers in health care, they should, for the benefit of patients, families, and physicians, actively participate in the discussion concerning end of life decisions.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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