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Table 2 Forgoing life-prolonging treatment and intensified alleviation of pain and symptoms, Switzerland 2013, by language region

From: Medical end-of-life practices in Swiss cultural regions: a death certificate study

Regions German-speaking French-speaking Italian-speaking
Number of non-sudden expected deaths (eligible for end-of-life decision) N = 2256 N = 992 N = 430
  %a 95% CI %a 95% CI %a 95% CI
Forgoing life-prolonging treatment
 Total 70.0% (68.1–71.9) 59.8% (56.7–62.8) 57.4% (52.7–62.0)
 - taking into account hastening of death 25.8% (24.0–27.6) 32.1% (29.3–35.1) 25.7% (21.8–30.1)
 - intending hastening of death 44.2% (42.2–46.3) 27.7% (25.0–30.6) 31.7% (27.5–36.3)
 - not combined with other medical end-of-life practice (1) 17.3% (15.8–18.9) 12.5% (10.6–14.7) 10.2% (7.7–13.5)
 - combined with intensified alleviation of pain/symptoms only 51.2% (49.1–53.2) 45.0% (41.9–48.1) 45.4% (40.7–50.1)
 - ditto, only intended forgoing treatment (2) 32.0% (30.1–34.0) 19.2% (16.8–21.7) 24.6% (20.7–28.9)
 - combined with physician-assisted death 1.5% (0.1–2.1) 2.3% (1.5–3.5) 1.8% (0.9–3.6)
Intensified alleviation of pain/symptoms
 Total 63.4% (61.4–65.3) 61.4% (58.3–64.4) 63.8% (59.1–68.2)
 - taking into account hastening of death 51.7% (49.7–53.8) 53.8% (50.7–56.9) 48.8% (44.1–53.5)
 - partly intending hastening of death 11.6% (10.4–13.0) 7.6% (6.1–9.4) 15.0% (11.9–18.8)
 - not combined with other medical end-of-life practice (3) 10.7% (9.5–12.0) 14.0% (12.0–16.4) 16.6% (13.4–20.5)
 - combined with forgoing life-prolonging treatment only 51.2% (49.1–53.2) 45.0% (41.9–48.1) 45.4% (40.7–50.1)
 - ditto, only non-intended forgoing treatment (4) 19.1% (17.6–20.8) 25.8% (23.2–28.7) 20.8% (17.2–24.9)
 - combined with physician-assisted death 1.5% (0.1–2.1) 24.0% (1.6–3.6) 1.8% (0.9–3.6)
  1. a100% = all non-sudden expected deaths; percentages weighted to region-sex-age-specific response rates
  2. Data in this table include cases in which more than one end-of-life decision were taken
  3. Forgoing life-prolonging treatment as most explicit end-of-life decision (cf. Table 1): (1) + (2)
  4. Intensified alleviation of pain/symptoms as most explicit end-of-life decision (cf. Table 1): (3) + (4)