Attention increases among Italian citizens with regard to “end of life” situations and, in particular, biological will: Two Italians out of three (66%) can correctly define what biological will is – a level of information much higher compared to other current issues such as federal tax reform, on which less than 30% regard themselves as informed.
With slight differences in comparison to the former Science in Society Monitor survey on this topic (2005), opinions on who should decide in case of terminal illness without hope for recovery and loss of consciousness by the patient remains articulated. More than one out of two (51%, in comparison to 58% in 2005) think that each person, through biological will, should be given the chance of choosing her own medical treatment in case of a terminal illness. Instead, 31% think that this possibility should pertain to the next of kin, 13% to the medical staff (in 2005 it was 9%).
Patients are offered a broad range of choices by those who are more inclined to giving indications through the biological will: the power to decide whether to reject any drugs or therapies (80%), to reject artificial nutrition and hydration (73%) or the power to ask to be kept alive by all means even artificial ones (64%).
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The Science in Society Monitor is since 2002 the first permanent monitor of Italian public opinion and attitudes towards science and technology issues. The Monitor is an initiative by Observa – Science in Society, supported by Compagnia di San Paolo.
CATI survey conducted on a sample of 1020 subjects, stratified by gender, age and geographical area of residence, representative of the Italian population aged 15 and over.
Observa – Science in Society is a non-profit independent research centre promoting the study and the discussion of the interaction between science, technology and society, stimulating dialogue among researchers, policy makers and citizens.