Mary is a 72 year old woman who has been a compulsive hoarder for the last 10 years. She can only move from room to room through pathways. She would like to move closer to her daughter and grandchildren, but she feels overwhelmed by the amount of stuff she has in her house. Despite the family’s efforts to help, her previous attempts to clean out her home have been unsuccessful. Mary has outpatient orthopedic surgery scheduled, and follow-up care will be provided in her home. This is causing Mary anxiety and she is considering cancelling the surgery due to the shame she feels about the state of her home.*
*(Case adapted from Cermele, JA et al. (2001). “Intervention in Compulsive Hoarding: A Case Study”. Behavior Modification 25.2: 214-232.)
What are some of the important details in this case that would help you determine how to approach Mary and discuss her concerns?
What are the key ethical concerns if Mary decides to cancel the surgery?
What are the ethical concerns about follow-up care in this case?
What options do you have to address the ethical concerns about follow-up care?
Some values and ethics issues to consider:
Respect for Autonomy
Quality of life
Quality of care
Gibson, Amanda K.; Jessica Rasmussen; Gail Steketee; Randy Frost; David Tolin. 2010. Ethical Considerations in the Treatment of Compulsive Hoarding. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice. Vol. 17, Issue 4:p. 426-438. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1077722910000945
Frost, Randy O.; Gail Steketee. 2014. The Oxford Handbook of Hoarding and Acquiring. Oxford University Press. 2014.
Koenig, Terry L ; Chapin, Rosemary ; Spano, Richard. 2010. Using multidisciplinary teams to address ethical dilemmas with older adults who hoard. Journal of Gerontological Social Work. February 2010; Vol. 53(2):137-147.
National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE). Compulsive Hoarding: The ethical dimensions. http://www.nicenet.ca/tools-compulsive-hoarding-the-ethical-dimensions)
Tompkins, Michael A..2014. ‘4.5 Ethical and legal considerations when helping a client with severe hoarding’. In, Clinician’s guide to severe hoarding: A harm reduction approach. Springer. November 2014.