Souffrance psychiatrique irrémédiable dans le contexte de l’aide médicale à mourir: une étude Delphi

Translated title of the contribution: Irremediable Psychiatric Suffering in The Context of Medical Assistance in Dying: A Delphi-Study

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Objective: Patients with a psychiatric disorder are eligible to request medical assistance in dying (MAID) in a small but growing number of jurisdictions, including the Netherlands and Belgium. In Canada, MAID for mental illness will become possible in 2023. For this request to be granted, most of these jurisdictions demand that the patient is competent in her request, and that the suffering experienced is unbearable and irremediable. Especially the criterion of irremediability is challenging to establish in patients with psychiatric disorders. The aim of this research is to establish what criteria Dutch and Belgian experts agree to be necessary in characterising irremediable psychiatric suffering (IPS) in the context of MAID. Methods: A two-round Delphi procedure among psychiatrists with relevant experience. Results: Thirteen consensus criteria were established: five diagnostic and eight treatment-related criteria. Diagnostically, the participants deem a narrative description and attention to contextual and systemic factors necessary. Also, a mandatory second opinion is required. The criteria concerning treatment show that extensive biopsychosocial treatment is needed, and the suffering must be present for several years. Finally, in the case of refusal, the participants agree that there are limits to the number of diagnostic procedures or treatments a patient must undergo. Conclusions: Consensus was found among a Dutch and Belgian expert group on potential criteria for establishing IPS in the context of MAID. These criteria can be used in clinical decision-making and can inform future procedural demands and research.
Translated title of the contributionIrremediable Psychiatric Suffering in The Context of Medical Assistance in Dying: A Delphi-Study
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)758-767
Number of pages10
JournalCanadian journal of psychiatry. Revue canadienne de psychiatrie
Issue number10
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • Delphi
  • ethics
  • irremediability
  • medical assistance in dying
  • physician-assisted death

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