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Ethics and old age psychiatry 

Ethics and old age psychiatry
Chapter:
Ethics and old age psychiatry
Author(s):

Julian C. Hughes

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199644957.003.0055
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date: 23 November 2017

This chapter starts by reviewing four of the main ethical theories – consequentialism, deontology, principlism, and virtue ethics – looking at their relevance to old age psychiatry. Next comes a practical framework, which can be used to deal with particular ethical dilemmas. The chapter goes on to consider the report on dementia produced by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics in 2009, with its emphasis on the importance of personhood and solidarity. In the final section arguments around assisted dying are discussed. Throughout the chapter the aim is to locate clinical practice in the broader field of ethical concerns, in which the person’s inter-relatedness with the broader social context is emphasized. Clinical decisions need to be seen as ethical decisions, which are either right or wrong, and which reflect the fundamental nature of ethical reasoning.

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