Ethical and Unethical Dilemmas Hospice Workers Encounter when Patients Wish to Hasten Death

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Having six months or less to live or having an illness in which patients finds themselves faced with a decision on how they are going to spend those remaining days are issues that arise in the healthcare setting. For some it is making lasting memories with their loved ones, while for others it is trying to hasten their own death. Dilemmas have been encountered by hospice workers concerning the ethical and unethical issues of patients they are caring for when choosing alternatives rather than palliative. Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. It is focused on providing patients with relief from the symptoms of pain and stress of their illness while providing comfort measures. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and their family Making the Case (2014) Retrieved from Palliative care is provided in a hospice setting or in one’s own home during his or her dying days. In a study of end-of-life care done in the United States it was found that patients in hospitals often do not have their needs for pain management or treatments provided to their full potential (Connor, 2007-2008, P.93). When a patient is suffering or they just don’t want to deal with waiting to die, they choose to take matters into their own hands by either Voluntarily Stop Eating and Drinking (VSED) or Patient Assisted Suicide (PAS). This paper will explain the ethical and unethical dilemmas that are presented in a hospice environment when dealing with VSED and PAS.
Cicely Saunders helped launch the first U.S. hospice in Branford, Connecticut. In 1973 it started treating patients at home. Hospice care has been considered as “appropriate care” with both palliative care and medications. Ph...

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