Moral Judgments in the Rationing of Health Care Resources: A Comparative Study of Clinical Health Professionals
Foster, Larry W.
McLellan, Linda J.
Social Work in Health Care. 1997; 25(4): 13-36.
Social workers, physicians, and nurses from a major urban teaching hospital were assessed and compared regarding their attitudes toward the rationing of health care. Responses to eighteen statements of considered moral judgments in the rationing of health care resources were analyzed in terms of levels of agreement with each. All three professional groups rejected rationing based on patient age and socioeconomic worth. However, social workers and physicians were more likely than nurses to consider such factors as cost-benefit ratios, quality of life, relative strength of a patient's moral claim, and scarcity of resources in rationing decisions. Study findings appear to portray social workers and physicians as being more utilitarian and nurses more egalitarian in rationing decisions. Implications for practice in a managed care environment are presented.
Age Factors; Aged; Attitudes; Comparative Studies; Environment; Futility; Health; Health Care; Life; Moral Development; Managed Care; Nurses; Physicians; Quality of Life; Resource Allocation; Rights; Rationing of Health Care; Scarcity; Selection for Treatment; Social Workers; Social worth; Survey; Terminally Ill; Values;
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