Caring for a loved one who is terminally ill can be tremendously stressful under any circumstances. If that person has a degenerative and dementing disease such as Alzheimer's, and is unable to participate in decisions regarding his or her care, the stress is that much greater. When it comes to making those difficult moral and ethical decisions which will preserve the dignity and integrity of the patient while also maintaining the caregiver's own selfhood, this is the book that can help.
How much should the patient be told? How strongly should he be urged to plan for his own future? Is it ever right to lie to the patient about her condition? When is it right to place your loved one in a nursing home--and not feel guilty about it? How do different family members arrive at agreement among themselves in each of these situations?
Authors and bioethicists James and Hilde Lindemann Nelson have written an invaluable step-by-step guide to tackling these and other difficult decisions. Using their extensive research on moral issues in health care, the Nelsons create hypothetical scenarios that demonstrate some of the most common situations caregivers will have to face during every stage of the illness, and show by example how they can make the right choices for themselves, the patient, and the rest of the family. This invaluable information, combined with a state-by-state and city-by-city guide to agencies and support groups offering practical assistance, as well as a list of suggested reading on the subject, make this book unique--and the most complete source of advice available.
About the Author
James and Hilde Lindemann Nelson have both been associated with the Hastings Center, a private research institution concerned with ethical issues in health care. They are the co-authors of The Patient in the Family: An Ethics of Medicine and Families. Both are now at the University of Tennessee, where James is a Professor of Philosophy teaching bioethics and Hilde is Director of the Center for Applied and Professional Ethics.
Praise for Hilde and James Lindemann Nelson's previous book, The Patient in the Family: An Ethics of Medicine and Families:
"This is a pioneering work...The Nelsons write clear, untechnical prose with an uncommonly fine eye for detail, and the case descriptions are superb."
--John Hardwig, East Tennessee State University
"Their critique of the current dogmas that tend to guide medical decision-making in the care of incompetent patients is very powerful. This is a clearly written, accessible book that will play a prominent role in subsequent discussions of health care ethics."
--Susan Sherwin, Dalhousie University