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Health Care Decisions

Chapter in book
Authors Ulrik Kihlbom
Christian Munthe
Published in Verkerk M, Lindemann H, Mclaughlin J (eds.) What About the Family? Practices of Responsibility in Care.
Pages 118-136
ISBN 9780190624880
Publisher Oxford University Press
Place of publication Oxford
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science
Pages 118-136
Language en
Keywords bioethics, family centered care, ethics of care, healthcare ethics, medical ethics, person centered care, patient centered care, shared decision making, family, philosophy of medicine, philosophy of care
Subject categories Older people and ageing, Children, Medical Ethics, Practical philosophy, Ethics


Health care decisions about investigation, diagnosis, and treatment may involve, engage, or affect family relations and family members of a patient in a variety of ways. This complicates the assessment of how options affect patients, and may furthermore elicit independent effect on professionals through expected actions of family members. Moreover, due to the close and intimate nature of family relationships, considerations about such aspects may be concern both clinical professionals, patients, and family members independently of how they actually manifest themselves in terms of effects on length and quality of life, autonomy and so on. In particular, decisions can be expected to both be influenced by and affect family members’ conceptions of mutual responsibilities making up the basic moral web of families, as pictured in the outset of this volume. Irrespective of how family responsibilities are allocated or what the legal requirements around medical decision-making are in place in different particular situations, health care professionals are almost always expected to play an important role in the decision-making process. The aim of this chapter is to outline how different relational aspects of families may ground obligations on behalf of health care professionals towards patients and their families in the processes of decision-making within health-care.

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Utskriftsdatum: 2019-11-14