Dignity in Care for Older People / Edition 1

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The notion of quality of life has for several decades been well-established in ethical debate about health care and the care of older people. Dignity in Care for Older People highlights the notion of dignity within the care of the elderly, focusing on the importance of theoretical concepts. Primarily based on a Research Project, Dignity and Older Europeans, funded by the European Commission, this book provides a thorough investigation of the concept of dignity and related concepts such as quality of life and autonomy. It includes a chapter devoted to the dignity of human embodiment, emphasizing the importance of the notion of the lived body in the context of elderly care. As a result of the conceptual study a model of dignity emerges in which four variants of dignity stand out: dignity of merit, dignity as moral status, dignity of identity and Menschenw rde (the specifically human value). From this follows a discussion of how these variants of dignity can be used in characterizing the care of the elderly. The notions of dignity and dignified care are discussed particularly in relation to demented persons and dying persons. The book also contains a chapter on the dignity of the dead person. International in focus, Dignity in Care for Older People provides a contemporary discussion of the care of older people, and will be of use to qualified nurses and social care practitioners working with older people, as well as those on ethics and gerontology courses.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405183420
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 6/15/2009
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Lennart Nordenfelt is Professor of Philosophy of Medicine and Health Care at the University of Linköping, Sweden

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Table of Contents



An Outline of the Book.

Preamble: the Case of David and Rebecca.

Part I Theoretical and Conceptual Considerations.

1. Health, Autonomy and Quality of Life: Some Basic Concepts in the Theory of Health Care and the Care of Older People (Lennart Nordenfelt).


1.1 Health.

1.2 Quality of life.

1.3 Autonomy.

1.4 Integrity.

1.5 Final remarks on the basic values.


2. The Concept of Dignity (Lennart Nordenfelt).


2.1 The definition of dignity.

2.2 Dignity: towards an analysis.

2.3 Relationships between the notions of dignity.

2.4 Further explorations on dignity. A commentary on some other authors.

2.5 Dignity and older people.


3. Being Body: The Dignity of Human Embodiment (Jennifer Bullington).


3.1 The objective body and the lived body.

3.2 The dignity of the human body.

3.3 Implications for health care.


Part II Dignity and Older People: Some Empirical Findings.

4. Dignity and Dementia: An Analysis of Dignity of Identity and Dignity Work in a Small Residential Home (Magnus Öhlander).


4.1 Living together in a residential home.

4.2 The homelike nature of the residential home.

4.3 Activities and routines.

4.4 Identity.

4.5 Home, sweet home.

4.6 Dignity, normality and culture.

4.7 Summary and concluding remarks on dignity work, normality and power.


5. Dignity and Older Spouses with Dementia (Ingrid Hellström).


5.1 Dignity in spousal relationships.

5.2 Conclusions.



6. Caring for Older People: Why Dignity Matters – the European Experience (Win Tadd and Michael Calnan).


6.1 The Dignity and Older Europeans study.

6.2 Findings.

6.3 Discussion.

6.4 Conclusion.



7. A Dignified Death and Identity-Promoting Care (Britt-Marie Ternestedt).


7.1 A dignified or good death.

7.2 Being allowed to be the person one is and to decide for oneself.

7.3 Death as a religious, medical and private event.

7.4 Extended identity close to death.

7.5 Threats to identity close to death.

7.6 Identity-promoting care.

7.7 Conclusion and reflections.


8. Dignity and the Dead (Göran Lantz).


8.1 The view of the dead person.

8.2 The dead as persons.

8.3 Change and continuity.

8.4 The necessary psychological change.

8.5 Brain death as a special category.

8.6 Fear of the dead person.

8.7 The rights of the dead.

8.8 Who owns the dead?

8.9 Religious aspects.

8.10 The dignity of the dead.


9. Dignity as an Object of Empirical Study: Experiences from Two Research Programmes (Lennart Nordenfelt).

9.1 General considerations.

9.2 Basic ethical concepts: a comparison between the DOE project and the Home project.

9.3 Salient aspects of the care of seriously ill older people in the Swedish context.

9.4 Conclusions.



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