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Social Work's Ethical Challenge: Supporting the Terminally Ill Who Consider a Hastened Death 

Social Work's Ethical Challenge: Supporting the Terminally Ill Who Consider a Hastened Death
Chapter:
Social Work's Ethical Challenge: Supporting the Terminally Ill Who Consider a Hastened Death
Author(s):

Tracy A. Schroepfer

, John F. Linder

, and Pamela J. Miller

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199739110.003.0071
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date: 08 August 2020

This textbook on palliative social work is a companion volume to the Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine and the Oxford Textbook of Palliative Nursing. To that end, this chapter will accomplish the following:

The options for hastening death at the end of life have increased the ethical issues and uncertainties faced by social workers who work with patients with life-threatening illness and their families.

Research findings indicate that the factors motivating the consideration of a hastened death by individuals with life-threatening illness are most often psychosocial and spiritual in nature, issues that fall within the realm of social work practice.

The social work profession has formulated guidance for practitioners and advocates alike in dealing with the consideration to hasten death.

Although the legal option to end life by a prescription is available in only a few places, political, ethical, and clinical ramifications exist that infuse clinical work. Social workers need to be prepared to work with the complex conversations and emotions that arise as patients consider the end of life.

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