A Good Death: On the Value of Death and Dying

A Good Death: On the Value of Death and Dying

A Good Death: On the Value of Death and Dying

A Good Death: On the Value of Death and Dying

Synopsis

Is there such a thing as a good death?
Should we be able to choose how we wish to die?
What are the ethical considerations that surround a good death?

The notion of a 'good death' plays an important role in modern palliative care and remains a topic for lively debate. Using philosophical methods and theories, this book provides a critical analysis of Western notions surrounding the dying process in the palliative care context. Sandman highlights how our changing ideas about the value of life inevitably shape the concept of a good death. He explores the varying perspectives on the good death that come from friends, family, physicians, spiritual carers and others close to the dying person. Setting out a number of arguments for and against existing thinking about a good death, this book links to the practice of palliative care in several key areas including:

An exploration of the universal features of dying
The process of facing death
Preparation for death
The environment of dying and death

The author concludes that it is difficult to find convincing reasons for any one way to die a good death and argues for a pluralist approach.

A Good Death is essential reading for students and professionals with an interest in palliative care and end-of-life issues.

Excerpt

One of the features of the modern palliative care specialty is the rather overt normative and ideological value system that accompanies it. The practitioners and proponents of palliative care have not been shy in propounding what is best for patients and families at the end of life. Of course, much of this has been couched in a language concerned to promote the interests of patients and families and which gives an important place to the concept of autonomy as well as to respecting choices, beliefs and preferences. It might also be said that this normative confidence has been a key to the success of palliative care development – leading to service innovation, policy recognition, and financial reimbursement. But as the field matures it is important and necessary to subject such values to close scrutiny, particularly from disciplines with the analytic power and the resources to make sense of what is happening when palliative care impacts upon the world. That is what makes this book so important..

Lars Sandman is a Swedish philosopher with expertise in ethics and an interest in palliative care. He has written a book for the Facing Death series that builds on some of the debates identified by other volumes in the series. He was a participant in the well-known Pallium project that was brought together in an edited collection entitled The Ethics of Palliative Care and he addresses concerns that have been explored in Reflections on Palliative Care as well as in the ethnographic studies we have published by Jane Seymour and Anne Mei The . But in his own analysis he goes well beyond these to offer us a full-blown exploration of the value systems at work in palliative care as it seeks to serve patients facing death and those close to them.

What is at the heart of his argument?

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