Close Encounters of the First Kind: An Interdisciplinary Ethics of Care Approach Mitigates Moral Injury and Family Division in the Midst of Covid-19

Ana Berlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In this compelling personal narrative describing a case from the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, a palliative care physician harnesses the creative powers and strengths of the interdisciplinary team to provide compassionate care to a critically ill patient and his family. The author describes the process of identifying a surrogate decision maker from among the patient's many adult children—several of whom were estranged from him and each other—and facilitating weighty decisions about his end-of-life care. Over the course of this journey, the author grapples with her inner biases and struggles with the emotional trauma associated with bearing witness to extraordinary suffering and social isolation imposed by COVID-19. Not only does the ethics of care approach embodied here lead to the creation of enduring vibrant works of art for this patient and others, but it also affirms a guiding principle of palliative care in which interdisciplinary collaboration is marshalled in the service of cultivating relationships, upholding responsibilities, and intensifying empathy among persons tied together by a common narrative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e159-e164
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Volume64
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nursing(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Palliative care
  • art therapy
  • care ethics
  • creative arts
  • end-of-life
  • hospice

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