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Hospices consider themselves places that practise a holistic form of terminal care, encompassing physical and psychological symptoms, and also the social and spiritual support for a dying patient. So far, the underlying ethical principles have been treated predominantly in terms of a normative theoretical discussion. The interview study discussed in this paper is a qualitative investigation into general and hospice-related conceptions of morality among full-time and voluntary workers in German inpatient hospices. It examines moral conflicts and efforts leading to their solution. The main ideas identified include moral neutrality towards the patients and their requests, the capability of acceptance, the idea of self-restraint with respect to the dying patient and the principle of respect for the natural course of dying. Essential triggers for moral conflicts were the inadequate education of patients, problems of acceptance in view of incurable disease, and disagreements between members of patients' families. The interviewees expressed their scepticism towards formal institutions of ethical counselling. The study has shown a type of virtue ethics that forms an integral part of the overall concept of hospice care, which cannot be treated separately from a holistic idea of care at the end of life.
Institut fuer Medizinische Ethik und Geschichte der Medizin, Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum, Bochum, Germany.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of medical ethics
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Medical care provided after the regular practice schedule of the physicians. Usually it is designed to deliver 24-hour-a-day and 365-day-a-year patient care coverage for emergencies, triage, pediatric care, or hospice care.
The application of current standards of morality to past actions, institutions, or persons.
Specialized health care, supportive in nature, provided to a dying person. A holistic approach is often taken, providing patients and their families with legal, financial, emotional, or spiritual counseling in addition to meeting patients' immediate physical needs. Care may be provided in the home, in the hospital, in specialized facilities (HOSPICES), or in specially designated areas of long-term care facilities. The concept also includes bereavement care for the family. (From Dictionary of Health Services Management, 2d ed)
A directed conversation aimed at eliciting information for psychiatric diagnosis, evaluation, treatment planning, etc. The interview may be conducted by a social worker or psychologist.
Norms, criteria, standards, and other direct qualitative and quantitative measures used in determining the quality of health care.
Bioethics is the study of controversial ethics brought about by advances in biology and medicine. Bioethicists are concerned with the ethical questions that arise in the relationships among life sciences, biotechnology, medicine, politics, law, and philo...
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