Obtaining family consent for participation in Alzheimer's research in a Cuban-American population: strategies to overcome the barriers.
Cultural values and beliefs affect family attitudes toward participation in research. Significant resistance to allowing their elders with dementia to participate in clinical research was encountered in Cuban-American families. These families expressed concern about disturbing the elder's comfort (tranquilidad) and solitude (soledad). Furthermore, most believed that intervention would be futile. Feelings of guilt associated with nursing home placement may have been exacerbated by the suggestion that active intervention could be effective. Strategies to overcome these barriers included reduced emphasis on the potential superiority of the intervention to be tested, reassurance that contact with research staff was usually appreciated by participants, arrangements to talk with the family as a group about the study, and increased use of Spanish-language consent forms. (+info)
Treatment without consent: intervention by the court.(2/61)
A practical guide to capacity assessment and patient consent in Hong Kong.
A person's decision-making capacity is pivotal when a doctor determines whether a person has the ability to make his or her own decisions, and thus it has major clinical, ethical, and legal significance, especially in Hong Kong, where the Mental Health Ordinance has introduced Guardianship provisions and provisions for the treatment of mentally incapacitated persons. This paper examines the legal concept of decision-making capacity and its clinical assessment within the local context. It is important for doctors to be aware of the legal mechanisms under which both urgent and non-urgent treatment can be given to mentally incapacitated persons, provided that the treatment is necessary and given in the best interests of the patient. (+info)
Ethics roundtable debate: withdrawal of tube feeding in a patient with persistent vegetative state where the patients wishes are unclear and there is family dissension.
The decision to withdraw or withhold life supporting treatment in moribund patients is difficult under any circumstances. When the patient becomes incompetent to clarify their wishes regarding continued maintenance in long-term facilities, surrogates sometimes cannot agree, further clouding the issue. We examine a case where the State's interests come into play, forcing a controversial resolution. (+info)
Capacity and coercion: dilemmas in the discharge of older people with dementia from general hospital settings.
Discharge planning of older people with dementia can present difficult ethical dilemmas to the general hospital clinician. These difficulties may be particularly pronounced for those who are moderately severely affected and for whom hazards are anticipated on discharge home. In many cases the wishes of the individual to return home may differ markedly from those of health care professionals, carers or relatives. In order to reduce these tensions and preserve the choice of the individual as far as possible, we try to put into context a number of different issues. We discuss some of the misconceptions regarding the legal powers available in these situations, the limited and sometimes confusing issue of capacity and the role of Community Mental Health Teams in preserving autonomy and independence of older people with dementia in their own homes. (+info)
Assisted and surrogate decision making for pregnant patients who have schizophrenia.
Because of a dearth of literature, we developed preventive ethics strategies for managing the pregnancies of patients with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia can chronically and variably impair a woman's decisions concerning the management of pregnancy, including the decision about whether to continue the pregnancy through to viability and term. The psychiatrist must balance autonomy-based and beneficence-based obligations to the pregnant woman with schizophrenia, and both the psychiatrist and pregnant woman have beneficence-based obligations to the fetus when the fetus is a patient. We discuss the assessment of the decision-making capacity of pregnant patients with schizophrenia and describe the strategies of assisted decision making that aim to diminish chronically and variably impaired autonomy. When patients are severely impaired in decision-making capacity, as, for example, in psychotic denial of pregnancy, the standard of surrogate decision making applies. This should be guided by the substituted judgment standard. When patients' values are not known or have not been consistently held over time, surrogate decision making should be guided by the best interests standard. These strategies should substantially enhance patients' autonomy in the psychiatrist-patient relationship and contribute to the quality of their psychiatric and obstetric care. (+info)
Survivors of childhood cancer and their guardians.
BACKGROUND: Survivors of childhood cancer are at increased risk for osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and second malignancies-conditions for which modifiable risk factors are recognized and lifestyle interventions have shown benefit. Although some data regarding health behaviors of this population exist, receptivity to health promotion is largely unknown. METHODS: A survey was mailed to 380 survivors (age range, 11-33 years) of childhood leukemia, lymphoma, or central nervous system carcinomas (and guardians of survivors < 18 years old) to elicit data on exercise, dietary intake of calcium, fat, and fruits and vegetables, smoking status, readiness to pursue lifestyle change, quality of life, and interest in various health interventions. RESULTS: Responses from 209 survivors (a 55% response rate) suggested that most did not meet guidelines for fruit and vegetable consumption (79%), calcium intake (68%), or exercise (52%), 42% were overweight/obese, and 84% consumed > 30% of calories from fat. Older (> 18 years) compared with younger (< 18 years) survivors were more likely to smoke (17% vs. 1%), to be obese (21.6% vs. 14.6%), and to have suboptimal calcium intakes (75.6% vs. 57.6%). No differences in lifestyle behaviors were observed between cancer groups. Compared with interventions aimed at weight control, improving self-esteem, or smoking cessation, the highest levels of interest were found consistently for interventions aimed at getting in shape and eating healthy. Survivors preferred mailed interventions to those delivered in-person, by telephone counselors, or via computers. CONCLUSIONS: Survivors of childhood cancer practiced several suboptimal health behaviors. Health promotion interventions aimed at areas of interest and delivered through acceptable channels have the potential to improve long-term health and function of this vulnerable population. (+info)
Terri Schiavo, Son Hudson, and 'nonbeneficial' medical treatments.
Two disputed cases about withholding life support (Terri Schiavo and Son Hudson) call for greater public discussion. Confusion arises from intermixing three kinds of cases: those (1) in which demanded treatment is physiologically futile, (2) involving competition for scarce resources, and (3) in which the treatment would likely achieve the patient's goals although the clinician perceives those goals to be valueless. This Perspective argues that clinicians should unilaterally refuse the first but do not have legitimate roles in blocking access to the second and third. Absent scarcity, patients should have access to effective life-prolonging treatments even if clinicians see no value in them. (+info)