We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more


Ethics in End-of-Life Decisions in Social Work Practice

Ellen L. Csikai and Elizabeth Chaitin

Publication Date - 01 July 2006

ISBN: 9780190615741

280 pages
5.5 x 8.2 inches


Modern medical technologies have given patients and their families new options at the end of life. These options are often accompanied by difficult medical and ethical questions. Ellen L. Csikai and Elizabeth Chaitin give social workers an expanded ethical base on which to ground their understandings and explanations of the end-of-life options available to patients and workers in healthcare environments. The authors connect long-standing philosophical theories to contemporary concerns in the field of bioethics.

In addition to theoretical issues, the authors include case studies to show the complex end-of-life decisions faced by patients, families, and health care workers. In order to help make these decisions, Csikai and Chaitin discuss how to assess knowledge; create treatment and intervention plans; and cultivate empowerment, teamwork, and cultural sensitivity. The authors, experienced social workers, offer approaches for resolving debates about informed consent, privacy and confidentiality, and the refusal or denial of medical treatment. The authors offer both ethical and practical methods for dealing with the potentially charged decisions and negotiations between patients, families, and healthcare workers.

Unlike other books that focus entirely on the moral consequences and concerns at the end of life, Ethics in End-of-Life Decisions in Social Work Practice combines moral understanding and analysis with a practical and active approach.


  • Reviews the ethical concerns associated with modern developments in end-of-life care
  • Offers concrete practical methods for dealing with the complicated decisions and negotiatons between patients, families, and healthcare provides
  • Case studies illustrate many of the complex end-of-life questions patients and families face

About the Author(s)

Ellen L. Csikai (PhD, MSW, University of Pittsburgh) is associate professor of social work at the University of Alabama. She has published numerous articles and is a member of several professional organizations, including the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organizations. She has also written Teaching Resources for End-of-Life and Palliative Care Courses.
Elizabeth Chaitin (PhD, Duquesne University, MSW, MA,University of Pittsburgh) is the director of the Medical Ethics and Palliative Care Services Department at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Shadyside Hospital. She teaches in several capacities and is an ethics consultant for several university hospitals.

Table of Contents

    About the Authors
    1 Medical Ethics: The Role of Philosophy
    2 Ethical Issues at the End of Life
    3 Advance Care Planning
    4 Hospice and Palliative Care
    5 The Process of End-of-Life Decision Making
    6 Ethics of Organ Donation
    7 Ethical Analysis and Resolution of Ethical Dilemmas in Health Care
    8 Confidentiality, Privacy, Truth Telling, and Medical Error