Ethics in End-of-Life Decisions in Social Work Practice

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2006-07-01
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Modern medical technologies have given patients and their families new options at the end of life. These options are often accompanied by difficult medical and ethical questions. Ellen L. Csikai and Elizabeth Chaitin give social workers an expanded ethical base on which to ground their understandings and explanations of the end-of-life options available to patients and workers in healthcare environments. The authors connect long-standing philosophical theories to contemporary concerns in the field of bioethics.

In addition to theoretical issues, the authors include case studies to show the complex end-of-life decisions faced by patients, families, and health care workers. In order to help make these decisions, Csikai and Chaitin discuss how to assess knowledge; create treatment and intervention plans; and cultivate empowerment, teamwork, and cultural sensitivity. The authors, experienced social workers, offer approaches for resolving debates about informed consent, privacy and confidentiality, and the refusal or denial of medical treatment. The authors offer both ethical and practical methods for dealing with the potentially charged decisions and negotiations between patients, families, and healthcare workers.

Unlike other books that focus entirely on the moral consequences and concerns at the end of life, Ethics in End-of-Life Decisions in Social Work Practice combines moral understanding and analysis with a practical and active approach.

Author Biography

Ellen L. Csikai (PhD, MSW, University of Pittsburgh) is associate professor of social work at the University of Alabama. She has published numerous articles and is a member of several professional organizations, including the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organizations. She has also written Teaching Resources for End-of-Life and Palliative Care Courses.
Elizabeth Chaitin (PhD, Duquesne University, MSW, MA,University of Pittsburgh) is the director of the Medical Ethics and Palliative Care Services Department at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Shadyside Hospital. She teaches in several capacities and is an ethics consultant for several university hospitals.

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