Aging Populations and Public Health Ethics
Oxford Handbooks Online 10 January 2019 The Oxford Handbook of Public Health Ethics Edited by Anna C. Mastroianni, Jeffrey P. Kahn, and Nancy E. Kass
19 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2020
Date Written: January 10, 2020
This chapter examines three primary public health goals relating to elderly populations: promoting healthy aging (including aging in place), reducing health inequities, and extending life spans. It then considers the ways in which programs or policies to advance population-wide goals are challenged to meet ethical responsibilities to protect older adults from harm, respect their autonomy and dignity, and treat them fairly or justly when resources are limited. Lastly, by looking at a difficult situation commonly faced in hospitals — the discharge of an elderly patient who may not be able to safely return home — the chapter introduces questions about the relationship between public health ethics, clinical ethics, and social justice, and about the future role of public health as a field of inquiry and action.
Keywords: healthy aging, aging in place, health inequities, public health ethics, social justice, aging populations
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