Navigating the Twilight Zone
It is important that the ethical question of how healthcare organizations – and society more broadly – ought to respond to the challenge of chronic diseases is addressed. Berlinger and Gusmano claim that the concept of ‘chronicity’ needs to be clarified, and that consideration is given to how the responsibility to treat and care for people with chronic diseases should be determined in light of this conceptual project. In this commentary, it is argued that chronic diseases can be distinguished from other health conditions on the differential – and morally significant – kinds of impact that they have on people’s everyday lives. On the basis of this argument, it is claimed that the pathways that Berlinger and Gusmano outline for the reform of policy and practice relating to the management of chronic diseases point us in the right kinds of directions, but do not go far enough.
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