Ethical Issues and Palliative Care
The care of terminally ill patients and families can raise some difficult ethical dilemmas. There are dilemmas about whether to start or stop ‘active’ anti-cancer treatments. Palliative care is directed at symptom control; what if the patient refuses to take medications to relieve symptoms? What happens if a patient wants to die at home but the family refuses to care for the patient? What about euthanasia? These, and other, problems are constantly presenting themselves to palliative-care practitioners. Because the emotional atmosphere is already charged when caring for the terminally ill, it is important to understand the ethical issues before they are confronted.
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