What deserves our respect? Reexamination of respect for autonomy in the context of the management of chronic conditions

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Abstract

The global increase in patients with chronic conditions has led to increased interest in ethical issues regarding such conditions. A basic biomedical principle—respect for autonomy—is being reexamined more critically in its clinical implications. New accounts of this basic principle are being proposed. While new accounts of respect for autonomy do underpin the design of many public programs and policies worldwide, addressing both chronic disease management and health promotion, the risk of applying such new accounts to clinical setting remain understudied. However, the application of new accounts of respect for autonomy to clinical settings could support disrespectful attitudes toward or undue interference with patients with chronic conditions. Reconsidering autonomy and respect using Kantian accounts, this paper proposes respect for persons as an alternative basic bioethical principle to respect for autonomy. Unlike the principle of respect for persons in the Belmont Report, our principle involves respecting any patient’s decisions, behaviors, emotions, or life-style regardless of his or her “autonomous” capabilities. Thus, attitudes toward patients should be no different irrespective of the assessment of their decisional or executive capabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-94
Number of pages10
JournalMedicine, Health Care and Philosophy
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Mar 15

Keywords

  • Chronic conditions
  • Kant
  • Personal autonomy
  • Respect for autonomy
  • Respect for persons
  • Self-management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Education
  • Health Policy

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