Making Healthcare Decisions

During a National Institutes of Health conference with the goal of setting a research agenda for end of life care in November of 2001, the physicians and nurses involved in care for patients and their families, the qualitative researchers, the economists, and those representing hospice and nursing homes identified a central theme: the importance of what the patient values, and what society values, as decisions needed to be made. Compassionate love, which includes valuing the other fully, action and attitude driven by other-centered motivations, and clear discernment as to the most caring action, can effectively guide healthcare decisions and policies. In a study of over four thousand people from various cultures and religions worldwide, conducted by the World Health Organization, and presented by Kate O'Con-nell at the International Quality of Life meeting in Amsterdam in November of2001, it was found that issues of being loved, cared for, and accepted contribute significantly to overall qualtiy of life, over and above basic health indicators.

Compassionate love requires that decisions be considered through a lens that views the other as having significant value. Decision-making based in compassionate love also can include various more consciously-articulated ways of

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