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Aging is a public health priority that is becoming increasingly important in both developed and less developed nations, with individual health care providers and law-makers each facing difficult ethical and policy dilemmas.
The complex issues physicians deal with include informed consent and patient decision-making capacity, use of advance care planning and decision-making by family and medical staff, and withdrawing and withholding life-sustaining interventions.
Broader questions include: has aging been over medicalized? Is it ethical for older patients to receive less medical care than younger ones, through unspoken practice or formal rationing? Is there inevitable conflict between the generations over scarce medical resources? How should physician, patient and family confront end-of-life decisions? How have different nations responded to increasing numbers of the elderly? Have social values changed as to family responsibility and individual autonomy?
This volume brings together the most significant published essays in the field.