71. Case: With A Little Help From My Friends

Kerry is a long-time volunteer with palliative care services in her community. With the distances and difficulty of travel that some palliative care patients may face, she is glad to be part of a team that works to support patients who want to die at home. While every effort is made to provide all patients with the same level of support as they need it, Kerry has noticed that some patients and families seem to get a bit more in terms of members of the team going the “extra mile” to ensure that a medication is delivered or staying longer at the home. Most troubling for Kerry is the fact that this seemed to happen for the biggest health care fundraiser in the community, while a relative newcomer to the community seemed to get less of this type of attention. Kerry isn’t sure about whether and how to raise this as an issue with the broader team.

What assumptions, questions, and/or examples come to mind in relation to this case?

What do you identify as the ethics issues in this case?

What would you say to Kerry if she asked you what she should do? Why, and what values are you using to support this approach?

Resources:

Castleden, H, V. Crooks, N. Schuurman, N. Hanlon. 2010. “It’s not necessarily the distance on the map …”: Using place as an analytic tool to elucidate geographic issues central to rural palliative care.” Health & Place 16 284-290.

Crooks V, H Castleden, N Hanlon, N Schuurman. 2011. ‘Heated political dynamics exist…’: Examining the politics of palliative care in rural British Columbia, Canada. Palliative Medicine 25(1): 26-35.

Pesut B, Bottorff, Robinson C. 2011. Be known, be available, be mutual; a qualitative ethical analysis of social values in rural palliative care. BMC Medical Ethics 12:19.

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