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Ethics in Oncology: Truth-Telling
Tracy Borgmeyer, LCSW, and Wendy Walters, LICSW, OSW
Recorded on September 26, 2017
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About the Webinar
Truth-telling is an established tenet of ethics in the practice of Western medicine and in other healthcare disciplines, including oncology social work. The obligation to disclose information to patients forms the basis for informed consent. We generally acknowledge that in order for patients to exercise autonomy and to make sound decisions about healthcare, they need information about their medical conditions and treatment options. Patients may file formal grievances or take legal action when they believe information was withheld, leading to harm.
How do we respond to requests to withhold information from patients? Under what circumstances might it be acceptable or justifiable to withhold information? How might we respond to concerns that disclosure will bring about harm to patients, such as psychological or existential distress? How might we balance disclosure and other ethical obligations, such as non-maleficence and justice? We will examine truth-telling and disclosure in terms of historical paternalism, legal developments relevant to disclosure, and varying approaches to ethical dilemmas. We will discuss the role and expertise of oncology social workers to address the concerns of patients, families, and clinical teams surrounding truth-telling.
At the end of the presentation, the participant will be able to:
- Understand the philosophical and ethical history of truth-telling.
- Examine truth-telling within the context of hope.
- Distinguish paternalism and clinical judgment about level of truth-telling
Continuing Education Credits
Level - Intermediate
Participants will earn 1.5 CE credits upon successful completion of a quiz and a post-webinar evaluation.