Nurses' Perceptions of Ethical Issues in the Care of Older People

Nursing Ethics 16 (4):436-452 (2009)

The aim of this thematic literature review is to explore nurses' perceptions of ethical issues in the care of older people. Electronic databases were searched from September 1997 to September 2007 using specific key words with tight inclusion criteria, which revealed 17 primary research reports. The data analysis involved repeated reading of the findings and sorting of those findings into four themes. These themes are: sources of ethical issues for nurses; differences in perceptions between nurses and patients/relatives; nurses' personal responses to ethical issues; and the patient—nurse relationship. The findings reveal that ageism is one of the major sources of the ethical issues that arise for nurses caring for older people. Education and organizational change can combat ageist attitudes. Wider training is required in the care of older people, workplace skills, palliative care and pain management for older people. The demands of a changing global demography will necessitate further research in this field
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DOI 10.1177/0969733009104608
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