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|Title:||An empirical analysis of the decision-making of forgoing life-sustaining treatments for patients with advanced dementia in the United States|
|Authors:||Pang, SMC |
|Source:||中华老年医学杂志 (Chinese journal of geriatrics), Apr. 2005, v. 24, no. 4, p. 300-304 How to cite?|
|Journal:||中华老年医学杂志 (Chinese journal of geriatrics)|
Objective: Considerable controversy over the justifications for forgoing life-sustaining treatment to patients with advanced dementia (AD) exists. Based on an ethnographic study, the decision-making practices for forgoing tube feeding and antibiotic treatment for AD patients in the U.S is examined.
Methods: Prospective case studies were undertaken in a dementia special care unit (BDSC) over a period of six months. Data sources included clinical observation notes from 10 patients, and interview notes from their family members and healthcare providers. Three strategies were used to manage the data: event analysis, content analysis and cross-case analysis. The American Caucasian culture and hospice care culture provided the context for analysis.
Results: Two patterns of decision-making were practiced in BDSC: (1) advance decision-making with respect paid to the patient’s wishes, and (2) advance decision-making focused on what is best for the patient. Differences in justifications for forgoing tube feeding and forgoing antibiotic treatment were discussed.
Conclusions: Forgoing life-sustaining treatment decision is difficult to make within the clinical context. Underpinning these difficulties are the predominant values in current medical practice that support the biological determinants of life and medical technology for enhancing the quality of life. In resolving these difficulties, a moral paradigm shift in two respects is required for framing the care of patients dying with AD. They are a shift from the medical protraction of life and a shift towards forms of care that enhance quality of life within the natural-organic framework of emotional, relational, esthetic and spiritual well-being. In this study, a paradigm shift of values underpinning the practice of forgoing life-sustaining treatments for AD patients was observed in three aspects. First, the emphasis on prognostication based on biomedical markers in predicting the length of survival is shifted to a focus on the "diagnosis of dying". This act facilitates the transition from connecting the choice of treatment with the goal of resolving the emergent medical problem to that of the goal of comfort care. Second, the overriding concern in conventional medical practice with preserving life is shifting to an overriding concern of "what is best for the patient." Third, in the last days of life, the conventional approach of "trying to do everything for the patient" was true in BDSC, but the approach had shifted from a technological to a relational one. Providing a peaceful and dignified environment in which the patient could die in the last days are the primary concern.
|Rights:||© 2005 中国学术期刊电子杂志出版社。本内容的使用仅限于教育、科研之目的。|
© 2005 China Academic Journal Electronic Publishing House. It is to be used strictly for educational and research purposes.
|Appears in Collections:||Journal/Magazine Article|
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