Conflicts of Interest: Experiences of Close Relatives of Patients Suffering From Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Nursing Ethics 2003 March; 10(2): 186-198
It is well known that close relatives of terminally ill patients endure great emotional stress. Many factors, such as existential concerns, contribute to the distress of these relatives. In this study, interviews were conducted to explore experiences concerning life restrictions, emotional distress, and limited support, in a group of close relatives of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The purpose was to identify, illuminate and clarify ethical problems related to these experiences. The results indicate that close relatives of patients with ALS need someone to talk to, as well as more information about the disease and its process. Furthermore, the study illustrates how ethical problems are related to choices and conflicts, and that a process including shared decision making is often an ideal when trying to find a solution to ethical problems.
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