A Care Ethics Position: Doctor-Patient Relationships

Developing relationships between a doctor and a patient is a critical topic for discussion in health care and nursing. Following the Code of Medical Ethics, one should remember such issues as trust, sound decision-making, and effective problem-solving. In the situation under analysis, I am a doctor who works with a patient whose family members do not demonstrate thoughtful feelings and pay more attention to some financial aspects. During the care process, I have become very close with the patient, which explains my intention to be involved in the discussion about the patient’s future at a long-term care facility. The family does not want to use the services of a solid retirement home that requires extra financial costs but prefers a socially-assisted government facility. As a doctor, I must give several recommendations and explanations about the importance of long-term care. My ethical responsibility is to provide valuable information and enhance informed decision-making. Besides, any doctor should respect the patient’s autonomy, and my primary obligation is to the patient, not the family. Still, I do not have any legal or ethical right to judge the family or say something to offend their relationship.

Therefore, my involvement in discussing the patient’s long-term care and the family’s financial aspects depends on several factors. First, the patient’s condition plays an important role because more information is required about the possibility of talking and examining the family situation. I would offer the patient to find a trusted guardian who can legally participate in decision-making. Second, I would address the family members and explain the patient situation, which fulfills my ethical duty as a doctor. Finally, I would talk to a retirement home representative about the conditions available for the patient at this moment. Although I, as a doctor, cannot be directly involved in all family decisions, I would create an appropriate background for the family about the patient’s well-being and care needs and offer enough information to support their decisions and improve their communication.