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Hastings Cent Rep. 1991 Mar-Apr;21(2 Suppl):S1-15.

New directions in nursing home ethics.


We believe that a new agenda for the ethics of long-term nursing home care could be set by seeing nursing homes as communities of caring and interdependency. The goal should be not simply to eliminate or minimize dependency whenever possible, but to make a genuinely creative and nurturing use of the dependency that is an inevitable reality for most nursing home residents. Nursing homes are rarely places of curing, but they can and should be places of healing -- of making whole -- of enabling frail or chronically ill persons to use their dependency to grow as human beings... In general, nursing home regulation is a matter of striking a delicate balance between that degree of control necesary to ensure a basic standard of decent and humane care, and that degree of professional discretion needed to allow nursing homes to respond to their own particular problems of care as they make creative use of the dependency that is an essential fact of nursing home life.

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