chapter  11
12 Pages

Health care decisions for the elderly

Many older persons regularly confront a variety of decisions regarding their

health care (as well as other kinds of personal matters and financial concerns). The process of health care decision making takes place within a legal

and ethical framework governed by the doctrine of informed consent.

When older persons (referred to in this chapter as ‘‘patients’’ because of the

health care focus) are involved, certain particular considerations regarding

application of informed consent principles are more likely to arise, includ-

ing the capacity to consent to or refuse diagnostic or therapeutic interven-

tions, legal interventions available when decisional capacity is impaired, end

of life treatment issues, long term care questions, and the participation in research activities by decisionally compromised human subjects. These

topics are outlined briefly in this chapter.