What role does autonomy play in achieving a 'good death' - Essay Example

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Only in the last few decades has death become an increasingly complicated concept, as compared to the earlier perception of death as a matter between the patient and the physician. In the past, before the advent of new technology, critical illnesses rapidly deteriorated into…
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What role does autonomy play in achieving a good death
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Download file to see previous pages “The main reason for the complex situation at the end of life is the development of life-sustaining technologies within the last fifty years” (Earle et al 2008, p.25).
Thesis Statement: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role of autonomy in achieving a ‘good death’. Hence, the concepts of autonomy and ‘good death’, along with their guiding principles and their application will be evaluated and illustrated.
“The care of dying patients is a responsibility for families, healthcare professionals and society” (Jeffrey 2006, p.2). Most care support is provided by families and non-professional carers. To improve the care of dying patients it is essential to understand end-of-life issues and promote effective communication. Palliative care for patients with chronic, life-threatening diseases such as advanced cancer involves decision making. Professionals are required to include patients in decisions that affect their care, while explaining to the patients and their carers, the ethical issues involved. Patient autonomy is perceived as key to ‘good death’. However, Brown (2003) argues that patient’s autonomy or freedom of choice at the end of life care is not merely a matter of individual preference. Other important criteria that influence a patient’s autonomy are socioeconomic status, availability of services, cultural factors, emotional and relationship factors, along with the political and other aspects of care.
The manner in which people are cared for at the end of their lives is one indicator of a civilised society. Recent medical advances can delay death as well as prolong the process of dying. These dynamics generate tension from which emerge ethical dilemmas requiring debate. Though the technological aspect of care increases progressively, the new concerns are regarding the neglect of the softer, psychological elements of care. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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