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.