the moral face of caregiving …

January 2, 2014

in Hospice & Palliative Medicine,Spirituality

… acknowledgment of the personhood of sufferers and affirmation of their condition and struggle have long been recognized as the most basic and sustaining of moral acts, whether among the friendship and kin network or in patient—physician and other professional relationships. The laying on of hands, empathic witnessing, listening to the illness narrative, and providing moral solidarity through sustained engagement and responsibility over the course of chronic illness and in the terminal period are all core moral tasks in caregiving. Theorists of caregiving have also identified “presence”—being there, existentially, even when nothing practical can be done and hope itself is eclipsed—as central to the giving of care. And it is also important in care receiving, because caregiving is almost always a deeply interpersonal, relational practice that resonates with the most troubling preoccupations of both carer and sufferer about living, about self, and about dignity. [read all of Kleinman’s piece in the Lancet]

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