The effect of contents in advance directive on decision-making

Wednesday, March 1, 2017, 12:00 PM
Room 424, School of Population and Public Health
2206 East Mall, Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z3

Dr. Sung Joon Shin
Visiting Scholar, W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics, UBC

On January 26th 2016, a law related to the life-sustaining treatment for terminally ill patients in Korea, commonly known as the ‘Well-Dying Law’, was passed. Just before approving this law, most scholars did not anticipate that it would be accepted as the Korean National Assembly was in a chaotic and state of paralysis. Several laws relating to important issues such as the redistricting of electoral districts, anti-terrorism, and labor reforms had not been properly dealt with, and were also pending.

Although the new law will go into effect in February of 2018, the general population is not well informed about it. Even most health care personnel have very limited information about advance directive and ‘Well-Dying Law’.

Advance directive provides an opportunity for individuals to make decisions regarding end-of-life care for themselves prior to becoming incapacitated. There are various forms of advance directive, containing a myriad of rhetoric and content. It is this diversity of language which could potentially affect an individual’s perception in regard to his/her end-of-life care on an unconscious level; this may nullify the original goal of advance directive which implies right to a dignified death by their own choice. The aim of my research is to investigate the effect of specific content in advance directives on decision making related to choice among various life-sustaining treatments.