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Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2009 Jun;32(2):343-59. doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2009.02.004.

Clinical ethics issues in geriatric psychiatry.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health, 6001 Research Park Boulevard, Madison, WI 53719, USA. awalaszek@wisc.edu

Abstract

Psychiatrists face a number of ethical challenges when caring for older adults and their families. Of paramount importance is ensuring that older adults have the capacity to make decisions about their medical care and their overall welfare. Psychiatrists must remain alert for the possibility of incapacity, which, if suspected, should prompt a thorough evaluation of decisional capacities. There is a robust literature guiding clinicians conducting such evaluations. Geriatric care focuses on maintaining or improving quality of life, which is especially relevant in end-of-life situations. With the aging of the United States population, discussion must take place at a societal level regarding a fair and just distribution of medical resources. Psychiatrists must be vigilant that the mental health needs of older adults, including access to effective therapies, are addressed adequately in such discussions.

PMID:
19486818
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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