Ethical Problems in End-of-Life Decisions for Elderly Norwegians
Schaffer, Marjorie A.
Nursing Ethics 2007 March; 14(2): 242-257
Norwegian health professionals, elderly people and family members experience ethical problems involving end-of-life decision making for elders in the context of the values of Norwegian society. This study used ethical inquiry and qualitative methodology to conduct and analyze interviews carried out with 25 health professionals, six elderly people and five family members about the ethical problems they encountered in end-of-life decision making in Norway. All three participant groups experienced ethical problems involving the adequacy of health care for elderly Norwegians. Older people were concerned about being a burden to their families at the end of their life. However, health professionals wished to protect families from the burden of difficult decisions regarding health care for elderly parents at the end of life. Strategies are suggested for dialogue about end-of-life decisions and the integration of palliative care approaches into health care services for frail elderly people.
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