Ethical Challenges: Less About Moral Wrongdoing and More About Communication Breakdown “My patient refuses thickened liquids, should I discharge them from my caseload?” A version of this question appears at least weekly on the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's Community pages. People talk of respecting the patient's right to be non-compliant with speech-language pathology recommendations. We challenge use of the word “respect” and ... Article
Article  |   September 01, 2015
Ethical Challenges: Less About Moral Wrongdoing and More About Communication Breakdown
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Paula Leslie
    Department of Communication Science and Disorders, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Mary Casper
    Department of Rehabilitation, HCR ManorCare, Rockville, MD
  • Disclosures: Financial: Paula Leslie and Mary Casper have no financial interests to disclose.
    Disclosures: Financial: Paula Leslie and Mary Casper have no financial interests to disclose.×
  • Nonfinancial: Paula Leslie and Mary Casper have no nonfinancial interests to disclose.
    Nonfinancial: Paula Leslie and Mary Casper have no nonfinancial interests to disclose.×
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Older Adults & Aging / Professional Issues & Training / Articles
Article   |   September 01, 2015
Ethical Challenges: Less About Moral Wrongdoing and More About Communication Breakdown
SIG 15 Perspectives on Gerontology, September 2015, Vol. 20, 72-84. doi:10.1044/gero20.3.72
History: Received May 20, 2015 , Revised July 1, 2015 , Accepted July 16, 2015
SIG 15 Perspectives on Gerontology, September 2015, Vol. 20, 72-84. doi:10.1044/gero20.3.72
History: Received May 20, 2015; Revised July 1, 2015; Accepted July 16, 2015

“My patient refuses thickened liquids, should I discharge them from my caseload?” A version of this question appears at least weekly on the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's Community pages. People talk of respecting the patient's right to be non-compliant with speech-language pathology recommendations. We challenge use of the word “respect” and calling a patient “non-compliant” in the same sentence: does use of the latter term preclude the former?

In this article we will share our reflections on why we are interested in these so called “ethical challenges” from a personal case level to what our professional duty requires of us. Our proposal is that the problems that we encounter are less to do with ethical or moral puzzles and usually due to inadequate communication. We will outline resources that clinicians may use to support their work from what seems to be a straightforward case to those that are mired in complexity. And we will tackle fears and facts regarding litigation and the law.

Become a SIG Affiliate
Pay Per View
Entire SIG 15 Perspectives on Gerontology content & archive
24-hour access
This Issue
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access
We've Changed Our Publication Model...
The 19 individual SIG Perspectives publications have been relaunched as the new, all-in-one Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups.