Autonomy and Long-Term Care

Autonomy and Long-Term Care

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The realities and myths of long-term care and the challenges it poses for the ethics of autonomy are analyzed in this perceptive work. The book defends the concept of autonomy, but argues that the standard view of autonomy as non-interference and independence has only a limited applicability for long term care. The treatment of actual autonomy stresses the developmental and social nature of human persons and the priority of identification over autonomous choice. The work balances analysis of the ethical concepts associated with autonomy with discussion of the implications of the ethical analysis for long term care. A central chapter involves a phenomenological analysis of four general features of everyday experience (space, time, communication, and affectivity) and explores their practical implications for long term care. This work concludes with a discussion of the advantages associated with a phenomenologically-inspired treatment of actual autonomy for the ethics of long-term care.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 212 pages
  • 160 x 234 x 20mm | 458.13g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0195074955
  • 9780195074956
  • 1,658,692

Back cover copy

The realities and misconceptions of long-term care and the challenges it presents for the ethics of autonomy are analyzed in this perceptive work. While defending the concept of autonomy, the author argues that the standard view of autonomy as non-interference and independence has only a limited applicability for long-term care. He explains that autonomy should be understood as a comprehensiveness that defines the overall course of a person's life rather than as a way of responding to an isolated situation. Agich distinguishes actual and ideal autonomy and argues that actual autonomy is better revealed in the everyday experiences of long-term care than in dramatic, conflict-ridden paradigm situations such as decisions to institutionalize, to initiate aggressive treatments, or to withhold or to withdraw life-sustaining treatments. Through a phenomenological analysis of long-term care, he develops an ethical framework for it by showing how autonomy is actually manifest in certain structural features of the social world of long-term care. Throughout this timely work, the rich sociological and anthropological literature on aging and long-term care is referenced and the practical ethical questions of promoting and enhancing the exercise of autonomy are addressed.show more

Review quote

Advance Praise: `This is an outstanding study of one of the most significant issues facing our society today. George Agich's criticism of the commonly accepted view of autonomy, grounded in a sensitive and intelligent analysis of the practical realities that confront marginalized elders, succeeds as few others. More importantly, his contextual theory, based on the work of other phenomenologists in medical ethics, is a significant alternative, and harbors important implications for most other issues in the field.' Richard M. Zaner, Stahlman Professor of Medical Ethics, Vanderbuilt Universityshow more