Avancées en éthique médicale

Avancées en éthique médicale
Libre accès

ISSN: 2385-5495


The role of the multidisciplinary team in decision making at the end of life

Than Zaw Oo, Chang Maung Aye, Shin Wei Sim, Lalit Kumar Radha Krishna

Background: When a parent is dying, there can be significant disagreement in the means and the motives of the primary surrogate decision-makers. How does one resolve the conflict between meeting one’s filial obligation, the social responsibility to maintain hope and not give up on the care of a loved one, and protecting familial interests? This case report highlights the diverse concerns plaguing holistic palliative care and the importance of the multidisciplinary team in complicated care settings. Methods: We discuss the case of a family in which the members were discordant in their preferred plans for the care of an unconscious, terminally ill loved-one. One family member advocated a palliative treatment approach, and another was keen to attempt ‘cupping’, an alternative treatment option with potentially dangerous consequences. Results: The role of the family in the deliberative process varies significantly, influenced by several factors such as the patient’s age, their dependency on the family unit, and their role in the family. Healthcare professionals tend to focus on elements of patient care specific to their area of practice, and may neglect others. Conclusions: In view of the variation in family members’ roles in the deliberative process, appraisal of individual cases is needed. A multidisciplinary team may be able to better reach a balanced outcome by considering family biases, and any potential competing goals of individual healthcare professionals.