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End of Life ChoicesConsensus and controversy$
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Fiona Randall and Robin Downie

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199547333

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199547333.001.0001

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Best interests: extended senses

Best interests: extended senses

(p.185) 10 Best interests: extended senses
End of Life Choices

Fiona Randall

R. S. Downie (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the issue of end of life care patients' ‘best interests’ in its various extended forms. It analyses the controversial view of specialist palliative care that the unit of care is the patient and relatives and that the best interests of the relatives must also be considered in making clinical decisions. Whole person or holistic care is acceptable as an aim of end of life care, but the term must be used with caution because a patient's wholeness extends well beyond anything that health care interventions at the end of life can encompass. The aims of end of life care should include the sensitive provision to patients of information about their illness in order to enable them to take part in decisions and lessen emotional distress.

Keywords:   specialist palliative care, best interests, emotional distress, holistic care, clinical decisions, health care interventions

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