Introduction:

Hi, I’m a swiss master student in physiotherpy. I work with neurological and elderly patients. This is my first blog! Recently, I had to deal with an ethical issue. Shall we continue the treatment (mobilisation and to stand up) in an old parkinson patient, who are in a poor general condition and not able to speak anymore? The Family of this patient requires that I continue this treatment, because it wants that the patient still stay at home. But I am not sure if this patient really want all of this.

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3 Replies to “Introduction:”

  1. Hi Rebekka. Welcome to the ethics course, and congratulations on your first blog post 🙂

    You raise an interesting question regarding your patient and the communication with their family. At what point (if ever) can you over-ride their request to treat the patient? Like most questions in ethical clinical practice, there are no easy and simply answers.

    I hope that we can explore some of these ideas moving forward. All the best.

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  2. The patient could not walk anymore. The transfers are almost passiv. Either it is not clear for the familiy about the bad prognostic of the patient or she don’t want to see this bad prognostic. Is it my role to explain this prognostic to the familiy or the role of the physician?

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  3. I suppose it’s a question of what the patient and their family needs. If the physician is unwilling to discuss the situation with the patient, or is likely to do so in an in appropriate way, maybe it’s the therapist’s job. In South Africa, the physiotherapist would tend to wait for the doctor to share bad news with the patient and their family, but there are no laws which require that. In many circumstances, it’s the physio who is closest to the patient and who spends the most time with them. In that case, it seems to make sense that the physio is best placed to share the information in a way that would demonstrate the most care for the patient.

    Do you have any laws in Switzerland that mandate which health professional is responsible for sharing bad news with patients and their families? Would the physician have a problem with someone else discussing the patient’s prognosis with them?

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