Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
PHL 207
Course Title:
Ethics and Aging
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Investigates central ethical issues pertaining to the care of elderly patients. Explores various ethical principles and frameworks and their application to various ethical issues and dilemmas that arise in caring for the elderly. Examines how to identify ethical issues in caring for the elderly and helps develop more proficiency in ethical decision making. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Students completing this course should be able to:

  • Identify and explain the moral issues that often arise in caring for the elderly (i.e., paternalism, confidentiality, informed consent, conscientious refusal, and whistle-blowing) in order to define one€™s responsibility within the elder care community.

  • Analyze situations involving moral issues that arise in the relationship between nurses and clients, other health care professionals, the institutions in which they work, as well as public policy, in order to critically assess one€™s own conceptions of moral action in caring for the elderly.

  • Apply the concerns raised by major ethical theories to the elder care context in order to analyze and resolve moral dilemmas when caring for the elderly.

  • Recognize and reflect on the impact of legal, cultural and religious considerations on the resolution of practical and moral problems when caring for the elderly in order to respectfully communicate with others whose opinions might differ from one€™s own.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment strategies will include some of the following:

  • Essays in the form of in-class exams, short papers, or term papers,

  • Short-answer exams,

  • Student presentations,

  • Class and small group discussions,

  • Attendance and participation.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

The course will focus on some or all of the following ethical questions that arise in caring for the elderly:

  • What should the aging and dying experience be like?

  • What is futile care?

  • Are assisted-suicide and euthanasia appropriate end-of-life care options?

  • What role should hospice and palliative care play in end-of-life care?

  • What is the appropriate use of artificial nutrition and hydration in end-of-life care?

  • How should decision-making conflicts be resolved in end-of-life care?

  • How should society structure health care for the elderly?

Competencies and Skills:
Students will learn to do the following:

  • Examine a clinical or social situation and identify ethical issues/dilemmas

  • Discuss clinical or social situations from ethical point of view

  • Devise and justify ethical responses to identified situations

  • Evaluate discussions of identified ethical issues/dilemmas