Centre for Policy on Ageing


Hospital discharge of frail elderly people
 — social and ethical considerations in the discharge decision-making process
Author(s)Ruth Chadwick, Jill Russell
Journal titleAgeing and Society, vol 9, part 3, September 1989
Pagespp 277 - 295
KeywordsHospital services ; Discharge.
AnnotationUsing contributions from moral philosophy and sociology, this paper explores the decisions confronting care professionals when discharging frail eldelry people from hospital. It is based on research into hospital discharge in South Glamorgan that has illuminated the nature of professional decision-making in multi-disciplinary ward meetings. Two key dilemmas are identified and examined in detail: first, the dilemma of discharging people who, whilst thought by professionals to be incapable of looking after themselves and therefore 'at risk', nevertheless want to go home, and secondly, the dilemma of finding residential care for those who are defined as being 'partly sick and partly well'. Whilst the principle of autonomy may be used to support individual choice, it may also be interpreted as encouraging self-reliance, and as a way of denying a collective responsibility to elderly people's care needs. The dilemma of institutional care for the 'partly sick partly well' is found to be a persisting problem, fraught with conceptual ambiguities and resource-boundary negotiations between medical and social care. An examination of both dilemmas serves to highlight the role of political ideology in discharge decision-making. (KJ).
Accession NumberCPA-891212033 A
ClassmarkLD: QKJ

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