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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 159153 Find in a Library
Title: Medical Perspective
Journal: Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect  Volume:7  Issue:2/3  Dated:special issue (1995)  Pages:31-48
Author(s): T T Wetle; T T Fulmer
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 18
Type: Training (Aid/Material)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Elder mistreatment requires a complex ethical calculus that involves competing values, ambiguous symptoms, confusing obligations, and regulations and laws that may complicate professional judgments and ethical analysis; this chapter clarifies such issues, explains values, and suggests strategies for resolving ethical conflicts in health care for the elderly.
Abstract: Elder mistreatment is explored from the perspective of the health care professional, beginning with a brief review of relevant values and ethical concepts. These include beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, confidentiality, paternalism, filial piety, and justice. The chapter then raises several ethical dilemmas faced by health care professionals in evaluating, reporting, and caring for cases of elder mistreatment. These include the difficulty in balancing patient autonomy with the obligation to protect them from harm, the problem of confidentiality and reporting requirements, the impact of reporting on relationships with patients and other professionals, and the problems in working with patients and their families. Approaches to developing appropriate institutional responses are suggested. Three case studies used in the previous chapter are reviewed in the context of the ethical principles discussed in this chapter. The chapter concludes that optimal patient care requires that the individual practitioner develop a systematic approach to cases of suspected mistreatment, including careful attention to relevant values and ethical concepts, an effort to balance expected benefits with potential harms, maintenance of up-to-date knowledge of relevant reporting laws and regulations, and access to current information regarding service resources and efficient access to those services. The institutions in which health professionals work should also develop and promulgate clear and comprehensive policies and procedures to support staff as they evaluate patients and address elder mistreatment. 18 references and appended tables that show the American Medical Association's principles of medical ethics, the American Nurses Association Code for Nurses, and Standards for Gerontological Nursing Practice
Main Term(s): Elderly victims
Index Term(s): Elder Abuse; Medical and dental services; Professional conduct and ethics
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