Skip to main content

Table 1 Empirical studies

From: The death of a patient: a model for reflection in GP training

Main characteristics of empirical studies on how physicians deal with the death of a patient *
Studies Year, participants, country Type of study Goal of study;
Moores 2007 2005
188 hospital doctors
Questionnaire Memorable patient deaths;
Almost 50% of physicians feel sad following a memorable patient death;around 1 in 10 experiences physical and emotional responses of moderate to severe intensity. The experience of a memorable patient death was influenced by personality traits more than by medical experience
Jackson 2005 1999-2001
51 physicians of quaternary care medical centres
90-minutes semi structured interviews;
face-to-face survey on a ten-point scale
To understand emotional experiences of physicians in caring for dying patients;
Physicians' emotional reactions to patient death may affect patient care and the personal lives of physicians
Redinbaugh 2003 Before 2003
188 hospital doctors, including primary care physicians
Semistructured interviews, face-to-face questions and a self administered questionnaireeducation Doctors' emotional reaction to the recent death of an 'average' patient; effect of level of training;
A long and close relationship with a patient makes the doctor more vulnerable to feelings of loss; doctors may benefit from debriefing
Hoogerwerf 1999 Before 1999
25 physicians(opinion-leaders)
the Netherlands
Interviews Factors influencing medical decision-making at the end of life;
For 80% of the physicians, personal values and experiences were important in medical decision making at the end of life
Saunderson 1999 1996-1998?
25 GPs
Semistructured interviews Managing one's own bereavement and that of the patient;
GPs may need support and learning methods to manage their own bereavement
Durand 1990 Before 1990
441 family physicians
Two-page fixed-choice questionnaire Personal attitude toward death; feelings and reactions toward terminally-ill patients and their families;
A significant relation between having a positive attitude to death and being over 50, having a religious world view and having received education concerning death
  1. *Resuls of literature search in PubMed, Embase, PsycInfo, Cinahl, TRIP database, Web of Science, and the University of Groningen catalogue (publication date 1980 - 2008).
  2. Search terms used for physicians and general practice: physician(s), doctor(s), family physician(s), family practice, general practitioner(s), GP(s), general practice
  3. for death: death, attitude to death, suffering, grief, bereavement, end of life, and patient loss.