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ReferencesEllingson, S., & Fuller, J. D. (1998). A good death? Finding a balance
between the interests of patients and caregivers. Generations, 22(3), 87.
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A GOOD DEATH? FINDING A BALANCE BETWEEN THE INTERESTS OF PATIENTS AND CAREGIVERS
Mr. T was a 76-year-old man who lived with his wife in a small, run-down house.
She was thirty years younger, and they had met during a difficult time in her
life, when she was new to the United States, did not speak the language, and had
no money. Marrying Mr. T had solved these problems, and she was grateful. The
marriage over the ensuing years was not an easy one. He was a very demanding
husband and verbally abusive. Still, a sense of obligation for all he had done
for her kept Mrs. T with him to the end. Mr. T suffered a stroke, leaving half
of his body paralyzed. He was confined to his bed or wheelchair, and had to be
fed through a gastrostomy tube. His wife had to attend to his daily functions as
he lost control of both bowel and bladder. He suffered from diabetes and
dementia and thus required constant monitoring. To make matters worse, he
adamantly refused to participate in his care and continued to be verbally
abusive to Mrs. T. He also demanded that he be allowed to die at home under her
care, and he refused to consider placement in any kind of care facility.
Mrs. T remained devoted and managed to keep him at home. During the day she
worked full time as a nurse's aide in a local nursing home, and at night she
cared for her husband, often working around the clock. She hired apart-time
caregiver to help while she was away at work. The physical, emotional, and