YouGov worked alongside Dignity in Dying to gather the views of people with a range of advanced or terminal conditions regarding assisted dying. The report, ‘What Matters to Me: People living with terminal and advanced illness on end-of-life choices’, gives insight into their views on assisted dying, unpicking the perception of the taboo around death and dying.
In 2019, YouGov worked with Dignity in Dying on ‘What matters to me’. The report delves into the opinions of people with an advanced or terminal condition, exploring discussing death and dying, views of assisted dying and what is meant by a ‘good death’.
YouGov conducted a survey of 502 adults in the UK aged 18+ who have been diagnosed with cancer, Parkinson's, motor neurone disease, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), multiple system atrophy or progressive supra nuclear palsy. Following on from the survey, two online focus groups were conducted with respondents from the survey, with nine to eleven respondents in each group.
Results and findings
- Though death and dying is often portrayed as a taboo subject, the findings suggest that this is not necessarily the case for those living with an advanced or terminal illness; over half (58%) disagree that death and dying is a taboo subject for them.
- The majority (73%) say they would support a law on assisted dying to allow mentally competent, terminally ill adults with six months or less to live the option of an assisted death in this country.
- Around two-thirds (64%) say that they would be pleased to have assisted dying as an option available to them alongside good end-of-life care.
- Half (51%) of respondents with an advanced or terminal illness say that if there was a change in the law on assisted dying, whereby two doctors would independently assess someone with six months or less to live who requested an assisted death, this would make no difference to their trust in doctors, with a further third (35%) saying this would increase their trust.
- The findings suggest there is a notable lack of dialogue with doctors around end-of-life care, with only 16% saying that they have had a discussion with their doctor about what might happen as their condition progresses, particularly at the end of life.
- Around two-thirds (64%) say that they do not feel they have enough information and support to achieve what they consider to be a ‘good death’.
“The experiences of dying people and their families are the foundation of our work at Dignity in Dying. The YouGov team was exceptional in helping us gather the voices of people living with terminal and advanced illness in a robust and sensitive way so that our call for a change in the law and culture around death and dying is truly evidence-based and person-centred. YouGov produced an excellent analysis of the learning from the quantitative and qualitative elements of the project. The report is a much-needed addition to the research base on the views of people with advanced and terminal illness on end of life care and decision-making. ”
Dignity in Dying
About the brand
Dignity in Dying campaigns for greater choice, control and access to services at the end of life. It campaigns within the law to change the law, to allow assisted dying as an option for terminally ill, mentally competent adults with six months or less to live.
Dignity in Dying does not provide practical assistance or advice in ending life, nor does it provide enquirers with the contact details of organisations who do so.
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