The SAGE Handbook of Healthcare Ethics is an influential collection of work by leading scholars on the fundamental and emerging themes which define healthcare ethics. This authoritative Handbook brings together experts with backgrounds in philosophy, sociology, law, public policy and the health professions and reflects the increasing impact of globalization and the dynamic advances in the fields of bioscience and genetics, which keep ethics at the centre of debates about the future direction of healthcare. Combining international and interdisciplinary perspectives, the Handbook provides a cutting-edge account of debates in five key areas: Health Care Ethics in an Era of Globalization; Beginning and End of Life; Vulnerable Populations; Research Ethics and Technologies; Public Health and Human Rights

Palliative Care Ethics

Palliative care ethics

Introduction

Over the past 40 years fundamental transformations have taken place in medicine's approach to death. As a consequence of therapeutic innovations and new survival techniques (resuscitation, and artificial respiration and feeding), the end of life is now considered a separate period, during which specific interventions are possible. At the same time, the appearance of new concerns related to patient autonomy, information and rights have contributed to the development of palliative medicine. The emergence of palliative medicine is to a large extent due to the changed relationship with death (Castra, 2003).

Today, the World Health Organisation (WHO) defines palliative care as ‘an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illnesses, through ...

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