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After studying Module 1: Lecture Materials & Resources, discuss the following:
- List and define the seven types of elder abuse that were identified by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA).
- How would you approach the Ethical Dilemmas and Considerations that might arise regarding Euthanasia, Suicide, and Assisted Suicide?
- Your initial post should be at least 500 words, formatted and cited in current APA style with support from at least 2 academic sources. Your initial post is worth 8 points.
Respond to at least two of your peers by extending, refuting/correcting, or adding additional nuance to their posts.
St. Thomas University
NUR 417 AP2
Prof. Yedelis Diaz
According to Santos et al. (2019), elder abuse is the failure to protect an elderly person from harm or to provide for his or her basic needs, by a caregiver. The definition of elder abuse also includes intentional or unintentional actions or inactions of a caregiver that create a serious risk of harm or cause harm to a vulnerable elder. Lecture Notes (Slide 5) present that elder abuse can be domestic, institutional, or result from self-neglect. The seven types of elder abuse are self-neglect, abandonment, physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, material and financial exploitation, and sexual abuse.
Weissberger et al. (2020) define physical abuse as intentionally causing an elderly person physical injury, harm, pain, distress, or functional impairment through the use of force. Forms of physical abuse include inappropriate use of physical or medication restraints, physical punishment, hitting, and slapping. Self-neglect, as the name suggests, is any self-inflicted behavior that threatens the elderly person’s safety and health (Weissberger et al., 2020). Actions such as failure to provide self with appropriate hygiene and adequate food are self-neglect. The elder abuse of abandonment is closely related to that of self-neglect, except that it is perpetrated by the elderly person’s caregiver.
Neglect also shares similar characteristics as it is defined as the failure of the caretaker to meet the necessary basic needs, such as adequate clothing, shelter, food, social stimulation, and medical attention, of an elderly person (Weissberger et al., 2020). Emotional abuse refers to causing an elderly person anguish, psychological pain, distress, fear, and geographic isolation through verbal and non-verbal interactions. Disrespect, threats, and humiliation qualify as forms of emotional abuse (Weissberger et al., 2020). Lastly, sexual abuse is unwanted or forced sexual interaction or contact, while financial exploitation refers to fraudulent, unauthorized, or improper use of the property of an elderly person by a trusted individual, caregiver, or stranger for the benefit of the exploiter and not the elderly person (Weissberger et al., 2020).
Approaching Ethical Dilemmas
Euthanasia, suicide, and assisted suicide to present the most common forms of ethical dilemmas nurses face in their delivery of care. The primary approach to such ethical dilemmas is to rely on the professional codes of ethics that govern nursing practice. These codes of ethics are based on the ethical principles of self-determination or autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, justice, and veracity (Lecture Notes, Slide 31). For example, the code of ethics for nurses states that nurses should not participate in assisted suicide (Lecture Notes, Slide 32). Therefore, nurses must acquaint themselves with the provisions of the professional ethical codes of the practice for guidance on how to respond to the various ethical dilemmas regarding euthanasia, suicide, and assisted suicide. Nurses should also consult ethics committees for advice on dilemmas and value conflicts, as this is part of the role of such committees.
Consequently, nurses must know the laws of the state within which they practice, particularly regarding these ethical dilemmas. This is because nurses have the responsibility of facilitating informed decision-making on such issues, which they can only achieve when they have adequate knowledge of laws and regulations on the issue. For instance, all 50 states consider an act of affirmative euthanasia an illegal criminal offense (Lecture Notes, Slide 32). With such knowledge, it becomes easier for nurses to address ethical dilemmas concerning euthanasia. In other words, nurses can either rely on their knowledge of the ethical principles and laws concerning the ethical dilemma in question or seek the advice of others, such as ethics committees, when faced with ethical dilemmas regarding euthanasia, suicide, and assisted suicide.
Lecture Notes. (n.d.). Chapter 3: Legal and Ethical Issues.
Santos, A. J., Nunes, B., Kislaya, I., Gil, A. P., & Ribeiro, O. (2019). Elder abuse victimization patterns: latent class analysis using perpetrators and abusive behaviors. BMC geriatrics, 19(1), 1-11.
Weissberger, G. H., Goodman, M. C., Mosqueda, L., Schoen, J., Nguyen, A. L., Wilber, K. H., … & Han, S. D. (2020). Elder abuse characteristics based on calls to the National Center on elder abuse resource line. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 39(10), 1078-1087.
St. Thomas University
NUR 417: Aging and End of Life
October 20, 2022
Aging is a normal biological process that we all life goes through. As one age, their functions become diminished, and they need enhanced attention to lead whole lives. While the process does not lead to disease or disability, it does reduce one’s capacity to respond to such challenges. Due to their vulnerable state, the elderly often gets abused since they cannot speak for themselves or cannot. National Council on Aging (n.d.) estimates that about five million elders experience abuse annually, which is staggering. This assignment module will examine the types of abuse identified by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) and how I would approach the ethical dilemmas and the considerations that accompany Euthanasia, suicide, and assisted suicide.
Types of Elder Abuse
The NCEA outlines several types of elder abuse that we should look out for to help the population (National Center on Elder Abuse, n.d.).
This abuse takes the form of physical force leading to injuries and harm to the elderly. It can also include improper use of restraints, medication, or feeding them by force. Its symptoms include fractures, bruises, and unexplained bleeding or injuries.
It involves an involuntary engagement in the act of sex with an elderly. Without consent, any act of sex is deemed abuse, and it is a deplorable phenomenon that some among the population endure. It is characterized by strange venereal illnesses or bruising in the breast and pelvic region.
Emotional or Psychological Abuse
This inflicts pain and suffering on the elderly using voiced or non-verbal means. When an older adult feels helpless from what someone says since they cannot fend for themselves, this is emotional abuse. Its main symptoms include withdrawal or being overly restless.
This is refusing to realize one’s responsibilities towards an older adult. Due to their advanced age and reduced functionality, they need assistance to get by, and when it is not rendered, this is considered neglect.
This is the desertion of the elderly that results in dereliction of their care. It is primarily witnessed in family situations where a family member takes on the responsibility and then abandons the person (Ludvigsson et al., 2022).
It is the misuse of an elderly’s wealth by taking advantage of their low capacity to use or protect it. It can be forging their signatures or cashing their checks without their direction.
These are situations when the elderly are at risk through self-harm or failure to care for themselves properly. At this stage, assistance is called for mostly from family members.
Ethical Dilemmas Regarding Euthanasia, Suicide, and Assisted Suicide
While the right to life is guaranteed, the question remains whether the right to end it should also be granted. It is also a dilemma to determine in what situations life should be ended. While it is illegal in the country, some argue that it is not suitable for someone to be denied the right to die with dignity while being granted the right to live in anguish (Buchbinder, 2018). Regardless of the ethical dilemma and situation, I may face, I would stand by my ethical obligation of doing no harm.
I believe assisted suicide contradicts the healthcare professional’s oath and mandate of caring and healing. While it may present a compelling case for death, for instance, of constant and anguishing pain due to terminal illnesses with close to no hope of treatment, allowing assisted suicide would ultimately result in more harm than good.
Suicide should not be condoned under any circumstance. Despite what a patient is going through or how bleak their situation may appear, care should always be prioritized and administered to the last possible stage of life while respecting the patient’s autonomy. Pain control and proper communication should also be highly prioritized.
Life is sacred and should always be treated as such. It is deplorable to witness the elderly abused because they cannot advocate for themselves. The worst part of the situation is that most cases remain unreported. Regarding care for the elderly, healthcare professionals need to be meticulously keen to ensure that their quality of life is not impaired under any circumstances. Decisions on the end of life are also a sore spot and a point of contest among different perspectives. Regardless of the approach, the consensus is that life is precious and should be preserved. This assignment module explored the types of abuse identified by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) and how I would approach the ethical dilemmas and the considerations that accompany Euthanasia, suicide, and assisted suicide.
Buchbinder, M. (2018). Access to Aid-in-Dying in the United States: Shifting the debate from rights to justice.
American Journal of Public Health,
108(6), 754. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2018.304352
Ludvigsson, M., Wiklund, N., Swahnberg, K., & Simmons, J. (2022). Experiences of elder abuse: a qualitative study among victims in Sweden.
22(1), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1186/S12877-022-02933-8/FIGURES/2
National Center on Elder Abuse. (n.d.).
NCEA – Abuse types. https://ncea.acl.gov/Suspect-Abuse/Abuse-Types.aspx
National Council on Aging. (n.d.).
Get the facts on elder abuse. https://www.ncoa.org/article/get-the-facts-on-elder-abuse
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