Objective: This study assessed the prevalence of psychiatric disorder among a group of terminally ill cancer patients with or without a wish to hasten death (WTHD). Methods: Consecutive patient referrals to a hospice inpatient unit, home palliative care service, and hospital palliative care-consulting service were recruited. A group of these patients (n = 56) consented to participate in a structured clinical interview (SCID) to identify the presence of psychiatric diagnoses. Patients were categorised into those with or without a wish to hasten death. Results: Current major depressive episode and adjustment disorder were the most prevalent disorders in this group of patients. Patients with a high WTHD were significantly more likely to have a current major depressive episode compared to patients with no WTHD. Patients with a high WTHD were also significantly more likely to have a past major depressive episode compared to patients with no WTHD. Significance of results: These results support the view that terminally ill patients with a high WTHD are significantly more likely to be suffering from a depressive disorder as assessed by a structured clinical interview. This has important clinical implications for those caring for dying patients who may make a request to hasten death.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Palliative and Supportive Care|
|Publication status||Published - 2004|