Morphine prescription in end-of-life care and euthanasia: French home nurses’ opinions

Marc Karim Bendiane, PhDc, Anne-Deborah Bouhnik, PhDc, Roger Favre, PhD, Anne Galinier, MD, Yolande Obadia, MD, Jean-Paul Moatti, PhD, Patrick Peretti-Watel, PhD


Objective: This study aimed to investigate factors that might lead French homecare nurses to consider the pre-scription of high-dose morphine to terminally ill patients to be euthanasia.
Methods: The researchers conducted an anonymous telephone survey among a random sample of602 French homecare nurses (response rate = 75percent) in 2005.
Results: Overall, 27percent of responding home nurses considered prescribing high-dose morphine to terminally ill patients to be euthanasia. Such an opinion was more frequently held by older nurses, those who had not followed terminally ill patients during the previous three years, and those with less knowledge about pain management involving opioid analgesics.
Conclusion: There is an urgent need to strengthen pain management education among French homecare nurses—especially regarding the use of morphine—in order to both improve their technical skills and correct some misconceptions about opioid analgesics.


morphine, euthanasia, end of life, France

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