This essay assess the compatibility of Eva Kittay's dependency critique with Rawlsian political liberalism. I argue for the inclusion of a modified version of Kittay's revisions within Rawlsian theory in order to yield a theory that suppports a substantial subset of dependency work. Beyond these selected changes, however, I argue that Kittay's other proposed changes should not be included because they are incompatible with Rawls, and furthermore, their incorporation does not yield a theory that includes utter dependents.
Aging populations have become a major concern in the developed world and are expected to require novel care strategies. Public policies, health-care regimes and technology developers alike stress the need for a more individualized care to meet the increased demand for care services in response to demographic change. Increasingly, care services are offered to individuals with diseases and or disabilities in their homes by means of Personalized Health-Monitoring (PHM) technologies. PHM-based home care is typically (...) portrayed as the key to a cost-effective future care that better can accommodate the needs of an aging population and promote care recipients’ independence. In light of the emerging technology-based home care, this article sets forth to investigate the significance and implications of a strong emphasis on independence in relation to this novel care form. Notions of independence as used by care planners, care providers and technology developers are examined in relation to ICT-based home care and the reasonableness of independence as an aim for future health-care is critically discussed. In conclusion, the need for a shift from a strong emphasis on independence to a right to healthy dependence is advocated. (shrink)
Protestant Christian ethicist Timothy Jackson and secular feminist philosopher Eva Feder Kittay each explore the relationship between love or care and justice through the lens of human dependency. Jackson sharply prioritizes agape over justice, whereas Kittay articulates a more complex and integrated understanding of the relationship of care and distributive justice. An account of Christian love and its relation to justice must account for the gratuity, mutuality, and reciprocity that pervade human existence. Such an account must integrate (...) provision for another's basic needs, a feature of agape, with a distributive justice that fairly allocates the material prerequisites of care and the burden of caring labor. Kittay's treatment of care and justice is more adequate to the realities of human embodiment and the social organization of care than Jackson's, but neither offers a fully adequate ground for the moral personhood of all human beings, including deeply dependent persons. (shrink)
According to the most important theories of justice, personal dignity is closely related to independence, and the care that people with disabilities receive is seen as a way for them to achieve the greatest possible autonomy. However, human beings are naturally subject to periods of dependency, and people without disabilities are only “temporarily abled.” Instead of seeing assistance as a limitation, we consider it to be a resource at the basis of a vision of society that is able (...) to account for inevitable dependency relationships between “unequals” ensuring a fulfilling life both for the carer and the cared for.**. (shrink)
The Dutch system of obstetric care is often recommended for midwife-attended births, the high number of home deliveries, and the low rate of intervention during pregnancy and labour. In this contribution, the question is addressed whether processes of medicalization can be demonstrated in the Dutch midwife practice. Medicalization of pregnancy and childbirth is often criticized because it creates dependency on the medical system and infringement of the autonomy of pregnant women. It is concluded that medicalization is present in (...) the practice of Dutch independent midwives, however it is less clear and outspoken than in hospital policies. (shrink)
the arguments in their favour are weak. Arguments based on reciprocity fail to explain why only means-tested public benefits should be subject to work requirements, and why unpaid dependant care work should not count as satisfying citizens’ obligations to reciprocate. Argu- ments based on promoting the work ethic misattribute recipients’ nonwork to deviant values, when their core problem is finding steady employment consistent with supporting a family and meeting dependant care responsibilities. Rigid work requirements impose unreasonable costs on (...) some of the poor. A welfare system based on a rebuttable presumption that recipients will work for pay, conjoined with more generous work supports, would promote justice better than either unconditional welfare or strict requirements . (shrink)
This study attempts to identify differences in the perceptions of top management (defined as CEOs, directors, and presidents) and employees (defined as middle and supervisory management) regarding (a) the effects of dependent care responsibilities on job performance, and (b) the extent of a firm's responsibility in providing support for those faced with caring needs concerning eldercare, childcare, substance abuse, and mental/physical handicaps.The results indicate that these two groups have significantly different perceptions of the effect of dependent care responsibilities (...) on job performance, and on the firm's responsibility in providing support for three types of dependent care. (shrink)
Liberal theories of justice have been rightly criticized for two things by care theorists. First, they have failed to deal with private care relations’ inherent (inter)dependency, asymmetry and particularity. Second, they have been shown unable properly to address the asymmetry and dependency constitutive of care workers’ and care-receivers’ systemic conditions. I apply Kant’s theory of right to show that current care theories unfortunately reproduce similar problems because also they argue on the assumption that (...) good care requires only virtuous private individuals. Giving up this assumption enables us to solve the problems regarding both private care relations and systemic injustice. (shrink)
In this essay, Ben-Porath begins from the assumption that just war theory should be extended to include a jus post bellum component. Postwar conduct should be significantly informed by a care ethics perspective, particularly its political aspects as developed by Joan Tronto and others. Care ethics should be extended to the international postwar arena with one significant amendment, namely, weakening the aim of ending dependence.
It is important and urgent to question therelationship between evidence-based medicineand power shifts in health care systems.Although definitions of EBM are phrased as ascientific approach to medicine, EBM is anormative concept: it aims to improve medicineand health care. Both proponents and opponentsuse a normative concept. More particularly,they provide particular views on positions,responsibilities, possibilities, norms andrelationships between professionals, patientgroups, governments and other parties in healthcare and society. From this perspective, wewant to analyse the role of EBM in modernwestern societies. (...) By using citizenshiptheory, we will argue that the role of EBM isnot fixed but depends on the relation betweenstate and society. We will first analyse thefundamental change in western societies duringthe past decades, from modern to post-modernsocieties. Then, we will elaborate a fourfoldmodel of possible relationships between stateand society, and discuss the issue of how EBM mayfit in, by giving some examples of the practiceof EBM in different European countries. On thisbasis, we conclude to consider EBM as a publicforum where proponents and opponents of EBMdiscuss diverse and possibly conflicting waysof changing medicine, health care, and healthpolicy. This requires the incorporation of theperspective of citizens and their socialnetworks, professionals with practical andtacit knowledge, and diverse public views onwhat is regarded as `a good life'. Inasmuch asEBM is expected to be practically relevant, itought to be tied to rather than separated fromthe normative world of emancipated patients anddiverse health care practices. Proponents andopponents of EBM should be prepared to defendthe normative claims and power effects that areinherently tied to any presentation ofevidence. (shrink)
Research questions and backgroundThis study explores a highly controversial issue of medical care in Germany: the decision to withhold or withdraw mechanical ventilation in critically ill patients. It analyzes difficulties in making these decisions and the physicians’ uncertainty in understanding the German terminology of Sterbehilfe, which is used in the context of treatment limitation. Used in everyday language, the word Sterbehilfe carries connotations such as helping the patient in the dying process or helping the patient to enter the dying (...) process. Yet, in the legal and ethical discourse Sterbehilfe indicates several concepts: (1) treatment limitation, i.e., withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatment (passive Sterbehilfe), (2) the use of medication for symptom control while taking into account the risk of hastening the patient’s death (indirekte Sterbehilfe), and (3) measures to deliberately terminate the patient’s life (aktive Sterbehilfe). The terminology of Sterbehilfe has been criticized for being too complex and misleading, particularly for practical purposes. Materials and methods An exploratory study based on qualitative interviews was conducted with 28 physicians from nine medical intensive care units in tertiary care hospitals in the German federal state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. The method of data collection was a problem-centered, semi-structured interview using two authentic clinical case examples. In order to shed light on the relation between the physicians’ concepts and the ethical and legal frames of reference, we analyzed their way of using the terms passive and aktive Sterbehilfe. Results Generally, the physicians were more hesitant in making decisions to withdraw rather than withhold mechanical ventilation. Almost half of them assumed a categorical prohibition to withdraw any mechanical ventilation and more than one third felt that treatment ought not to be withdrawn at all. Physicians showed specific uncertainty about classifying the withdrawal of mechanical ventilation as passive Sterbehilfe, and had difficulties understanding that terminating ventilation is not basically illegal, but the permissibility of withdrawal depends on the situation. Conclusions The physicians’ knowledge and skills in interpreting clinical ethical dilemmas require specific improvement on the one hand; on the other hand, the terms passive and aktive Sterbehilfe are less clear than desirable and not as easy to use in clinical practice. Fear of making unjustified or illegal decisions may motivate physicians to continue (even futile) treatment. Physicians strongly opt for more open discussion about end-of-life care to allow for discontinuation of futile treatment and to reduce conflict. (shrink)
Contemporary health care relies on electronic devices. These technologies are not ethically neutral but change the practice of care. In light of Sennett’s work and that of other thinkers (Dewey, Dreyfus, Borgmann) one worry is that “e-care”—care by means of new information and communication technologies—does not promote skilful and careful engagement with patients and hence is neither conducive to the quality of care nor to the virtues of the care worker. Attending to the kinds (...) of knowledge involved in care work and their moral significance, this paper explores what “craftsmanship” means in the context of medicine and health care and discusses whether today the care giver’s craftsmanship is eroded. It is argued that this is a real danger, especially under modern conditions and in the case of telecare, but that whether it happens, and to what extent it happens, depends on whether in a specific practice and given a specific technology e-carers can develop the know-how and skill to engage more intensely with those under their care and to cooperate with their co-workers. (shrink)
In the UK, current policies and services for people with mental disorders, including those with intellectual disabilities (ID), presume that these men and women can, do, and should, make decisions for themselves. The new Mental Capacity Act (England and Wales) 2005 (MCA) sets this presumption into statute, and codifies how decisions relating to health and welfare should be made for those adults judged unable to make one or more such decisions autonomously. The MCA uses a procedural checklist to guide this (...) process of substitute decision-making. The personal experiences of providing direct support to seven men and women with ID living in residential care, however, showed that substitute decision-making took two forms, depending on the type of decision to be made. The first process, ‘strategic substitute decision-making’, paralleled the MCA’s legal and ethical framework, whilst the second process, ‘relational substitute decision-making’, was markedly different from these statutory procedures. In this setting, ‘relational substitute decision-making’ underpinned everyday personal and social interventions connected with residents’ daily living, and was situated within a framework of interpersonal and interdependent care relationships. The implications of these findings for residential services and the implementation of the MCA are discussed. (shrink)
The idea behind this article is to discuss the importance and to develop the concept of reciprocity in asymmetric professional relationships. As an empirical starting point for an examination of the possible forms of reciprocity between patients and nurses in psychiatry, we chose two qualitative in-depth interviews with two different patients. The manners in which these two patients relate to medical personnel—one is dependent, the other is independent—show that this presents challenges to nurses. The theoretical context is provided by the (...) notion of mature care as it has been developed by feminist-oriented ethics of care, in contrast to the notion of altruistic care. In relation to the concept of mature care, we discuss how nursing can be perceived in demanding relationships with patients in psychiatry. Reciprocity implies that, in principle, the interests of the nurses also matter in a nurse-patient relationship. We show that reciprocity—in practice—is complicated and challenging in a number of different ways. Mature care—with its systematic inclusion of relationships and reciprocity—provides an alternative understanding of what takes place between patients and nurses compared with an altruistic notion of care. As such, mature care can be regarded as an useful paradigm for nurse-patient relationships in psychiatry. (shrink)
Health professionals increasingly face patients with complex health problems and this pressurizes them to cooperate. The authors have analyzed how the complexity of health care problems relates to two types of cooperation: consultation and multidisciplinary teamwork (MTW). Moreover, they have analyzed the impact of these two types of cooperation on perceived professional autonomy. Two teams were studied, one team dealing with geriatric patients and another treating oncology patients. The authors conducted semi-structured interviews, studied written documents, held informal discussions and (...) observed the teams at work. Consultation was most likely to take place when a patient had multiple problems. However, if these problems were interrelated, i.e. the solution for one problem interfered with solving another, then MTW was favored. The same was true when the available information was equivocal such that there were conflicting interpretations of a problem. How the professionals perceived the relationship between complexity and the need to cooperate depended on their expertise, their occupational background, and their work orientation. Consultation did not affect the professional autonomy of the health care professionals. MTW however did decrease the perceived level of professional autonomy. The extent to which this occurred seemed to depend on the quality of the interpersonal relations within the team. The findings can help in selecting the most appropriate and efficient type of cooperation based on the complexity of a patient’s problems. They can also help team leaders to stimulate reflection and feedback processes, and medical trainers to develop competencies among students related to such teamwork behaviors. (shrink)
The article focuses on the impact of the concept of self-care on persons who are understood as incapable of self-care due to their physical and/or mental ‘incapacity’. The article challenges the idea of this health care concept as empowerment and highlights the difficulties for persons who do not fit into this concept. To exemplify this, the self-care concept is discussed with regard to persons with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In the case of persons with AD, self-care (...) is interpreted in many different ways—depending on the point of view, for instance as an affected person or a carer. To prevent a marginalisation of the growing group of elderly persons with dementia, the article argues that concepts such as those of personhood, wellbeing, autonomy, rationality and normality have to be re-thought with regard to an increasingly ageing population. Taking into account that AD as a socio-medical construct has to be understood in the context of power relations, the article focuses on the mutual influence between the concepts of self-care and of AD and its possible impact on governing dementia and AD in particular. Michel Foucault’s considerations on ‘technologies of the self’ provide the basis for the discussion of the self-care concept within existing societal power relations. (shrink)
São descritas Oficinas Terapêuticas conduzidas por psicólogos em um Centro de Atenção Psicossocial – álcool e drogas, direcionadas a adultos de ambos os sexos, usuários de álcool e/ou outras drogas. Seus objetivos principais eram proporcionar espaços de expressão, construção e transformação subjeti..
The growing proportion of elderly people in society, together with recent advances in robotics, makes the use of robots in elder care increasingly likely. We outline developments in the areas of robot applications for assisting the elderly and their carers, for monitoring their health and safety, and for providing them with companionship. Despite the possible benefits, we raise and discuss six main ethical concerns associated with: (1) the potential reduction in the amount of human contact; (2) an increase in (...) the feelings of objectification and loss of control; (3) a loss of privacy; (4) a loss of personal liberty; (5) deception and infantilisation; (6) the circumstances in which elderly people should be allowed to control robots. We conclude by balancing the care benefits against the ethical costs. If introduced with foresight and careful guidelines, robots and robotic technology could improve the lives of the elderly, reducing their dependence, and creating more opportunities for social interaction. (shrink)
Describing the U.S. health care system meansdescribing managed care under commercial forces.Managed care creates new moral tension forpractitioners, but more importantly, in its currentform it intensifies the commercialization of healthexpectations and interactions. The largely unregulatedmarketing of health services under managed care hasbeen a major factor in the increasing number ofuninsured citizens, while claims for cost reductionthrough managed care are equivocal. Risk-ratingpractices integral to the current medical marketplacethwart concerns for justice in allocation and createvulnerabilities for almost (...) everyone. Thepolitical-moral concern of the early 1990s for a rightto health care is nowhere in sight. (shrink)
Equity in health and health care is animportant issue. It has been proposed that thepursuit of equity in health care is beinghampered by the dominance of individualism inhealth care practices. This paper explores theway in which communitarian ideals and practicesmight lend themselves to the pursuit of equity.Communitarians acknowledge, respect and fosterthe bonds that unite and identify communities.The paper argues that, to achieve equity inhealth care, these bonds need to be recognisedand harnessed rather than ignored. The notionof (...) individual autonomy in the context of thecommunity is examined. Alternative concepts ofautonomy â social autonomy and communityautonomy â are seen to be more respectful andnurturing of both the individual and thecommunity. Moreover, these concepts appeardesirable for the pursuit of health care equitygoals. The paper concludes with some thoughtsabout how equity in Australia's health caresystem can reasonably progress within acommunitarian vision. Disadvantaged communitiesare discussed throughout, in particular,Australian Aboriginal communities. (shrink)
Recently adopted health care practices and policies describe themselves as “patient-centered care.” The meaning of the term, however, remains contested and obscure. This paper offers a typology of “patient-centered care” models that aims to contribute to greater clarity about, continuing discussion of, and further advances in patient-centered care. The paper imposes an original analytic framework on extensive material covering mostly US health care and health policy topics over several decades. It finds that four models of (...) patient-centered care emphasize: patients versus their parts; patients versus providers; patients/providers/states versus “the system”; and patients and providers as persons. Each type is distinguishable along three dimensions: epistemological orientations, practical accommodations, and policy tools. Based on this analysis, the paper recommends that four questions be asked of any proposal that claims to provide patient-centered care: Is this care a means to an end or an end in itself? Are patients here subjects or objects? Are patients here individuals or aggregates? How do we know what patients want and need? The typology reveals that models are neither entirely compatible nor entirely incompatible and may be usefully combined in certain practices and policies. In other instances, internal contradictions may jeopardize the realization of coherent patient-centered care. (shrink)
In this article I wish to show how care ethics puts forward a fundamental critique on the ideal of independency in human life without thereby discounting autonomy as a moral value altogether. In care ethics, a relational account of autonomy is developed instead. Because care ethics is sometimes criticized in the literature as hopelessly vague and ambiguous, I shall begin by elaborating on how care ethics and its place in ethical theory can be understood. I shall (...) stipulate a definition of care ethics as a moral perspective or orientation from which ethical theorizing can take place. This will mean that care ethics is more a stance from which we can theorize ethically, than ready-made theory in itself. In conceiving care ethics in this way, it becomes possible to make clear that, for instance, a moral concept of autonomy is not abandoned, but instead is given a particular place and interpretation. In the final part of this article I will show how ârelational autonomyâ can be applied fruitfully in the practice of psychiatric care. (shrink)
Lying is a common phenomenon amongst human beings. It seems to play a role in making social interactions run more smoothly. Too much honesty can be regarded as impolite or downright rude. Remarkably, lying is not a common phenomenon amongst normally intelligent human beings who are on the autism spectrum. They appear to be ‘attractively morally innocent’ and seem to have an above average moral conscientious objection against deception. In this paper, the behavior of persons with autism with regard to (...) deception and truthfulness will be discussed in the light of two different ethical theories, illustrated by fragments from autobiographies of persons with autism. A systemizing ‘Kantian’ and an empathizing ‘ethics of care’ perspective reveal insights on high-functioning autism, truthfulness and moral behavior. Both perspectives are problematic from the point of view of a moral agent with autism. High-functioning persons with autism are, generally speaking, strong systemizes and weak empathizers. Particularly, they lack ‘cognitive empathy’ which would allow them to understand the position of the other person. Instead, some tend to invent a set of rules that makes their behavior compatible with the expectations of others. From a Kantian point of view, the autistic tendency to always tell the truth appears praiseworthy and should not be changed, though it creates problems in the social life of persons with autism. From a care ethics perspective, on the other hand, a way should be found to allow the high-functioning persons with autism to respect the feelings and needs of other persons as sometimes overruling the duty of truthfulness. We suggest this may even entail ‘morally educating’ children and adolescents with autism to become socially skilled empathic ‘liars’. (shrink)
Clarifying and analysing moral problems arising in the practice of palliative care was the objective of participatory observations in five palliative care settings. The results of these observations will be described in this contribution. The moral problems palliative caregivers have to deal with in their daily routines will be explained by comparison with the findings of a previously performed literature study. The specific differences in the manifestation of moral problems in the different palliative care settings will be (...) highlighted as well. (shrink)
Analyses of care work typically speak of three necessary roles of care: the care worker, the care recipient, and an economic provider who makes care materially possible. This model provides no place for addressing the difficult political questions care poses for liberal representative democracy. I propose to fill this space with a new caring role to connect the care unit to the political sphere, as the economic provider connects the care unit to (...) the economic sphere. I call this role that of the “care claimant.” The labor of claiming care consists in the development, expression, and advancement of the interests of the care unit. The argument for employing this fourth care role begins by comparing Nel Noddings's phenomenological care unit to Sara Ruddick's family-based analysis. It then moves to discuss the way Eva Kittay emphasizes the dependency of the charge and its political ramifications to illustrate the need for a care claimant. After distinguishing the care claimant from the other roles of care, I examine the power relationships in the care unit and the position of the care claimant in the public sphere. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that the metaphysical ethics of Emmanuel Levinas captures some essential moral intuitions that are central to health care. However, there is an ongoing discussion about the relevance of ethical metaphysics for normative ethics and in particular on the question of the relationship between justice and individualized care. In this paper I take part in this debate and I argue that Levinas' idea of an ethics of the Other that guides politics and justice can (...) shed important light on issues that are central to priorities in health care. In fact, the ethics of Levinas in seeking the foundation of normativity itself, captures the ethical coreand central values of health care. (shrink)
An aging population is often taken to require a profound reorganization of the prevailing health care system. In particular, a more cost-effective care system is warranted and ICT-based home care is often considered a promising alternative. Modern health care devices admit a transfer of patients with rather complex care needs from institutions to the home care setting. With care recipients set up with health monitoring technologies at home, spouses and children are likely to (...) become involved in the caring process and informal caregivers may have to assist kin-persons with advanced care needs by means of sophisticated technology. This paper investigates some of the ethical implications of a near-future shift from institutional care to technology-assisted home care and the subsequent impact on the care recipient and formal- and informal care providers. (shrink)
Health care systems in different countries and cultures differ and tend toreflect the particular values and, therefore, the particular socialstructure of a given society. Each of these has ethical problems unique toitself. Some of these problems are briefly discussed. So as to have anindividual ethical problem in the context of medical care, access tomedical care needs to be assured. It is argued that individual problems arethe primary issue in societies in which there is fair access whereas theyare (...) of lesser importance in societies which have thus far failed toprovide fair access. (shrink)
The interaction between evidence-based medicineand doctors' duty of care to patients iscomplex. One the one hand, there is surely anobligation to take account of the bestavailable evidence when offering health care topatients. On the other hand, it is equallyimportant to be aware of important shortcomingsin the processes and practices ofevidence-based medicine. There are tensionsbetween the population focus of evidence-basedmedicine and the duties that doctors have toindividual patients. Implementingevidence-based medicine may have unpredictableconsequences upon the overall quality of healthcare. Patients (...) may have a range of reasons forpreferring one form of treatment over another,not all of which are captured by currentformulations of evidence. This paper examinesthese issues, using relevant examples fromevidence-based medicine. (shrink)
During the last decade a “technical” approach has become increasingly influential in health care priority setting. The various country reports illustrate, however, that non-technical considerations cannot be avoided. As they often remain implicit in health care package decisions, this paper aims to make these normative judgements an explicit part of the procedure. More specifically, it aims to integrate different models of distributive justice as well as the principle of solidarity in four different phases of a decision-making procedure, and (...) to identify important moral choices which present themselves. First four important justice models are discussed, then a justification is given for their inclusion in a four-step decision making procedure. This is followed by a discussion of different justice and solidarity problems—with their inherent conceptual difficulties in each of these stages. The paper concludes with a summary of the major moral choices that are to be made in health care package decisions. (shrink)
In professional medical ethics, the physician traditionally is obliged to fulfil specific duties as well as to embody a responsible and trustworthy personality. In the public discussion, different concepts are suggested to describe the desired moral attitude of physicians. In a series of three articles, three of the discussed concepts are presented in an interpretation that is meant to characterise the morally emotional part of this attitude: “empathy”, “compassion” and “care”. In the first article of the series, “empathy” has (...) been developed as a mainly cognitive and morally neutral capacity of understanding. In the second article, the emotional and virtuous core of the desired professional attitude—compassion—has been presented. Compassion as a professional attitude has been distinguished from a spontaneous feeling of compassion, and has been related to a general idea of man as vulnerable and solidary being. Thus, the dignity of the patient is safeguarded in spite of the asymmetry of compassion. In this article, the third concept of the triad—“care”—is presented. Care is conceived as an attitude as well as an activity which can be directed to different objects: if it is directed to another sentient being, it is regarded as intrinsically morally valuable; implying (1) the acceptance of being addressed, (2) a benevolent inclination to help and to foster, and (3) activity to realize this. There are different forms of benevolence that can underlie caring. With regard to the professional physician’s ethos, the attitude of empathic compassion as developed in the two previous articles is proposed to be the adequate underlying attitude of care which demands the right balance between closeness and professionalism and the right form of attention to the person of the patient. ‘Empathic compassionate care’ does not, however, describe the whole of the desired attitude of a physician, but focuses on the morally-emotive aspects. In order to get also the cognitive and practical aspects of biomedicine into the picture, ‘empathic compassionate care’ has to be combined with an attitude of responsibility that is more directed to decision-making and outcome than a caring attitude alone can be. The reconstruction of the desired professional attitude in terms of “empathic compassionate care” and “responsibility” is certainly not the only possible description, but it is a detailed proposal in order to give an impulse for the discussion about the inner tacit values and the meaning of medicine and clinical healthcare professions. (shrink)
This paper introduces this mini-series on verticalequity in health care. It reflects on the fact that byand large equity policies in health care have failedand that there is a need for positive discriminationto promote equity better in future. This positivediscrimination is examined under the heading of`vertical equity'.The paper considers Varian's notion of `envy' as abasis for equity in health care but concludes thatthis is not a helpful route to go down. Better itwould seem to pursue the idea (...) from Sen of `freedoms'and `communitarian claims' (as raised previously bythis author). While it is argued that proceduraljustice is to be preferred in the longer run as abasis for equity there are gains in adopting a shortrun goal of promoting distributive justice. Somepreliminary evidence is presented on the weighting ofhealth gains to reflect such vertical equityconcerns. (shrink)
This article discusses the latest developments regarding euthanasia and palliative care in the Netherlands. On the one hand, a legally codified practice of euthanasia has been established. On the other hand, there has been a strong development of palliative care. The combination of these simultaneous processes seems to be rather unique. This contribution first focuses on these remarkable developments. Subsequently, the analysis concentrates on the question of how these new developments have influenced the ethical debate.
In 1991, the CDC recommended that health care workers (HCWs) infectedwith HIV or HBV (HbeAg positive) should be reviewed by an expert paneland should inform patients of their serologic status before engaging inexposure-prone procedures. The CDC, in light of the existing scientificuncertainty about the risk of transmission, issued cautiousrecommendations. However, considerable evidence has emerged since 1991suggesting that we should reform national policy. The data demonstratesthat risks of transmission of infection in the health care setting areexceedingly low. Current policy, (...) moreover, does not improve patientsafety. At the same time, implementation of current national policy atthe local level poses significant human rights burdens on HCWs.Consequently, national policy should be changed to ensure patient safetywhile protecting the human rights of HCWs. This article proposes a newnational policy, including: (1) a program to prevent bloodborne pathogentransmission; (2) a responsibility placed on infected HCWs to promotetheir own health and well-being and to assure patient safety; (3) adiscontinuation of expert review panels and special restrictions forexposure-prone procedures; (4) a discontinuation of mandatorydisclosure of a HCW's inflection status; and (5) the imposition ofpractice restrictions if a HCW is unable to practice safely because of aphysical or mental impairment or failure to follow careful infectioncontrol techniques. A new national policy, focused on management of theworkplace environment and injury prevention, would achieve high levelsof patient safety without discrimination and invasion of privacy. (shrink)
One generally considered plausible way to allocate resources in health care is according to people’s needs. In this paper I focus on a somewhat overlooked issue, that is the conceptual structure of health care needs. It is argued that what conceptual understanding of needs one has is decisive in the assessment of what qualifies as a health care need and what does not. The aim for this paper is a clarification of the concept of health care (...) need with a starting point in the general philosophical discussion about needs. I outline three approaches to the concept of need and argue that they all share the same conceptual underpinnings. The concept of need is then analyzed in terms of a subject x needing some object y in order to achieve some goal z. I then discuss the relevant features of the object y and the goal z which make a given need qualify as a health care need and not just a need for anything. (shrink)
Client participation in elderly care organizations requires shifting traditional power relations and establishing communicative action that involves the lifeworlds of clients and professionals alike. This article describes a particular form of client participation in which one client was part of a team of professionals in a residential care home. Their joint remit was to plan the implementation of a new personal care file for residents. We describe the interactions within this team through an ethnodrama, based on participant (...) observations and the embodied presence of the researcher (first author). The narratives and voices of all team members are dramatized in this ethnodrama. Throughout the project the team members experienced confusion relating to the confrontation between lifeworld and system, as experienced by the client and professionals in the team. We analyze these tensions by making use of a Habermasian theoretical framework. We conclude that forms for collective client participation in residential care homes should be developed based on communicative action between clients and professionals, with room for emotional engagement. (shrink)
Our study presents an overview of the issues that were brought forward by participants of a moral case deliberation (MCD) project in two elderly care organizations. The overview was inductively derived from all case descriptions (N = 202) provided by participants of seven mixed MCD groups, consisting of care providers from various professional backgrounds, from nursing assistant to physician. The MCD groups were part of a larger MCD project within two care institutions (residential homes and nursing homes). (...)Care providers are confronted with a wide variety of largely everyday ethical issues. We distinguished three main categories: ‘resident’s behavior’, ‘divergent perspectives on good care’ and ‘organizational context’. The overview can be used for agendasetting when institutions wish to stimulate reflection and deliberation. It is important that an agenda is constructed from the bottom-up and open to a variety of issues. In addition, organizing reflection and deliberation requires effort to identify moral questions in practice whilst at the same time maintaining the connection with the organizational context and existing communication structures. Once care providers are used to dealing with divergent perspectives, inviting different perspectives (e.g. family members) to take part in the deliberation, might help to identify and address ethical ‘blind spots’. (shrink)
The drive for cost-effective use of medical interventions has advantages, but can also be challenging in the context of end-of-life palliative treatments. A quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) provides a common currency to assess the extent of the benefits gained from a variety of interventions in terms of health-related quality of life and survival for the patient. However, since it is in the nature of end-of-life palliative care that the benefits it brings to its patients are of short duration, it fares (...) poorly under a policy of QALY-maximization. Nevertheless, we argue that the goals of palliative care and QALY are not incompatible, and optimal integration of palliative care into the calculation of QALY may reveal a mechanism to modify considerations of how optimal quality of life can be achieved, even in the face of terminal illness. The use of QALYs in resource allocation means that palliative care will always compete with alternative uses of the same money. More research should be conducted to evaluate choices between palliative care and more aggressive therapies for the terminally ill. However, current limited data show that investing in palliative care makes more sense not only ethically, but also financially. (shrink)
The film Gandhi expands our understanding of how the virtue of care can function in the public sphere by portraying Gandhi dealing with Indian independence from Britain, the subjugation of women and Untouchables, and strife between Hindus and Muslims. Gandhi illustrates in his social and political activism how the virtue of care is animated by benevolence and structured by the building blocks of the care perspective: responsibility and need, relationship and mutual dependency, context and narrative.
In the context of health care the aim of the article is to bring another meaning to the concept “need” that goes beyond the human activity; the drive to satisfy needs. Another meaning incorporates an ethical and existential nature of life phenomena. An example from empirical research on living with a chronic disease as seen from the patient’s point of view provides the basis for arguing another meaning of the concept “need”. The meanings and nuances in the life phenomena (...) of hope, doubt and life courage are exemplified in qualitative interviews with chronic sufferers. A combination of empirical research and Danish life philosophy. Research has shown that the interaction between the professional health care provider and the patient and family may lead to a more or less unconscious and inappropriate administration of power. Research also indicates that by overlooking or ignoring the existential qualities in human life and suffering, the professional health care provider may deprive the patient and family of their room for action. To add a deeper understanding of the existential meaning of being a person with an illness, the article shows the different human dimensions concerning life phenomena and needs. Developing sensitive, situation-specific attention offers a response to the challenge faced by health care providers in collaboration with the patient: How can we open our eyes to the most significant features of the situation which arise on the onset of illness. (shrink)
This paper presents a systematic account of ethical issues actualised in different areas, as well as at different levels and stages of health care, by introducing organisational and other procedures that embody a shift towards person centred care and shared decision-making (PCC/SDM). The analysis builds on general ethical theory and earlier work on aspects of PCC/SDM relevant from an ethics perspective. This account leads up to a number of theoretical as well as empirical and practice oriented issues that, (...) in view of broad advancements towards PCC/SDM, need to be considered by health care ethics researchers. Given a PCC/SDM-based reorientation of health care practice, such ethics research is essential from a quality assurance perspective. (shrink)
In this commentary on Eva Feder Kittay's Love's Labor: Essays on Women, Equality, and Dependency, I focus on Kittay's dependency theory. I apply this theory to an analysis of women's inadequate access to high-quality, cost-effective healthcare. I conclude that while quandaries remain unresolved, including getting men to do their share of dependency work, Kittay's book is an important and original contribution to feminist healthcare ethics and the development of a normative feminist ethic of care.
This paper offers critical reflection on the contemporary tendency to approach health care in instrumentalist terms. Instrumentalism is means-ends rationality. In contemporary society, the instrumentalist attitude is exemplified by the relationship between individual consumer and a provider of goods and services. The problematic nature of this attitude is illustrated by Michael Oakeshott’s conceptions of enterprise association and civil association. Enterprise association is instrumental; civil association is association in terms of an ethically delineated realm of practices. The latter offers a (...) richer ethical conception of the relation between person and society than instrumentalism does. Oakeshott’s conception is further illustrated by reflection on the connection between morality and religion that he explores in an early essay concerning “religious sensibility”. Religious sensibility turns on the acknowledgement of the vulnerability of the self to the vicissitudes of life. This vulnerability cannot be bargained over instrumentally without imperilling the self. Religious sensibility is thus a valuable resource for criticising instrumentalist attitudes. It allows for the cultivation of ethical self-understanding that is essential to comprehending the conditions in virtue of which genuine civil life is possible. These conditions need to be taken into account in health care. Health care is not simply about substantive wants. It also necessarily concerns the universal and constant condition of being prey to illness that is the common lot of all citizens. (shrink)
A number of dichotomies bedevil the concept of care, among them, the question of whether healthcare is posited on care or cure. On one side the question is whether it is enough to cure without caring (to cure is to care) and on the other whether caring is sufficient without a cure. This has received attention in recent years from feminists, particularly in the nursing profession, and from renewed interest in virtue ethics. This paper describes a study (...) that was undertaken to explore what a group of experienced United Kingdom based osteopaths understand care to be. Following interviews and transcript analysis using Grounded Theory, a number of themes were identified: Care as communication; Care as understanding the patient; Care as the therapeutic relationship; Care as action; Care as most beneficial outcome. The relationships between the various themes were explored and a ‘model of osteopathic care’ was proposed. Most of the respondents put beneficial outcome of some kind at the heart of their understanding but the process of caring was not regarded as particularly important on its own. In fact the expressed intention of osteopathic care was to facilitate a beneficial outcome. However, beneficial outcome was described in very broad terms and was not confined to the resolution of patients' presenting symptoms. In placing beneficial outcome at the heart of their model of care, respondents did not appear to recognize the dichotomy between care and cure, a finding that contrasts sharply with a number of nursing studies. The paper concludes by suggesting how it may be possible to differentiate between care and good practice. (shrink)