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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


AGUILAR-SANCHEZ, Juan Miguel et al. Knowledge and attitudes of health professionals towards advance directives. Gac Sanit [online]. 2018, vol.32, n.4, pp.339-345.  Epub Dec 07, 2020. ISSN 0213-9111.


To evaluate the degree of knowledge and attitudes of medical and nursing professionals in two health departments to advance directives, as well as to examine their association with the sociodemographic and occupational variables of the professionals.


A cross-sectional survey on 329 health professionals was carried out through the internet and a standardised procedure. The knowledge and attitudes of the professionals about advance directives were examined using two validated questionnaires of 17 and 12 items, respectively. Sociodemographic and professional data were also collected from the participants.


45% of the professionals were physicians, with X - =13,1 (SD: 8.3) years of professional experience. Sixty-seven point five percent were women and the mean age was 38.9 (SD: 9.2) years. Professionals had very positive attitudes towards the advance directives document ( X -=75.37;SD: 11.97;R = 0-90), although their level of knowledge about them was medium-low ( X -=9.31;SD: 2.73;R = 0-18). Both the level of knowledge and self-perception were associated with previous training in palliative care, experience with document management, reading, or the demand for information. Completing the document related to self-perception of knowledge. Attitudes towards the document related to experience in its use and a positive attitude toward training.


The professionals showed positive attitudes towards the advance directive document although low knowledge about it. Experience with the document was the only variable associated with both the knowledge and the attitudes of the professionals.

Keywords : Advance directive; Living wills; Attitude of health personnel; Patient rights; Advance care planning.

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