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Palliative Care EthicsA Companion for All Specialties$
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Fiona Randall and Robin Downie

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780192630681

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192630681.001.0001

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Other management decisions

Other management decisions

(p.199) 9 Other management decisions
Palliative Care Ethics

Fiona Randall

R.S. Downie (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses problems of autonomy and competence, alternative therapy, the place of care, and the quality of care. Patients' choices are respected, even if they are not fully autonomous nor perfectly competent, in order to preserve the principle of respect for autonomy in palliative care. Refusals of treatment are overruled only if there is no doubt that the patient is incompetent to make the decision. There is a moral obligation to strive to improve quality of care. Some essential aspects of palliative care are not quantifiable in numerical terms; they must be assessed in qualitative terms, which entail value judgements. It is not morally acceptable to omit them because they cannot be evaluated numerically.

Keywords:   autonomy, alternative therapy, care quality, palliative care, patient's choice, value judgements

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