Suffering and Autonomy at End of Life

Suffering and Autonomy at End of Life

2017 – 2018
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Principal investigators

Funding

The Royal Society of Edinburgh

Dr. Ben Colburn and Dr. Jennifer Corns will be hosting host two workshops and a conference on suffering and autonomy at the end of life.

Scotland’s aging population challenges our established theory and practice concerning end of life care. This series of interdisciplinary workshops considers how to protect the core human value of autonomy in geriatric and palliative care. We focus first on theory, exploring the relationship between suffering and autonomy at end of life, and considering how suffering can both threaten and augment autonomy. We then turn to practice, bringing together academics, policymakers and practitioners to consider how the identified effects of suffering and autonomy are currently reflected in medical and legal regulatory frameworks, and how those frameworks might be reformed. These developments in theory and practice will make a substantial contribution to the aim of guaranteeing the conditions of autonomy for all citizens, not only in the prime of life, but also at its end.

 

Workshops


Workshop 1: How Suffering Augments Autonomy
18 March 2017

Location: The Reid Room, Department of Philosophy, 69 Oakfield Avenue, University of Glasgow

Physical and emotional suffering can have significant value. For instance, a person’s perspective on what’s valuable or important may be enhanced through their suffering and their understanding about who they are and what they care about may be advanced. Suffering at the end of life plausibly often yields just such enhancements and advancements, therefore providing distinctive opportunities for the augmentation of autonomy. At this workshop, we thus consider how suffering augments autonomy at the end of life.

The workshop will focus on the relevant research of the following presenters:

Michael Brady (University of Glasgow)

Ian Kidd (University of Nottingham)

Naomi Richards (University of Glasgow)

Tom Stern (University College London)

 

Workshop 2: How Suffering Threatens Autonomy
4 August 2017

Location: The Reid Room, Department of Philosophy, 69 Oakfield Avenue, University of Glasgow

Suffering at the end of life can also threaten autonomy. It can alter the sufferer’s preferences and distort their reasoning ability, problematizing the status of their decisions and consent. It can also limit the sufferer’s ability to pursue long-term goals, and undermine relations with others, both of which are important for autonomy. At this workshop, we thus consider how suffering threatens autonomy at the end of life. 

This workshop will focus on the relevant research of the following presenters: 

Havi Carel: “Breathless, torture, and intubation: helplessness but not hopelessness”

James Humphries: “Suffering, social relations, and autonomy at the end of life”

Sarah Conly: “The Myth of Patient Autonomy and End-of-Life Care”

Jamie Robertson: “Changes in ambition and priorities among older adults—signals of autonomy lost?”

Lubomira Radoilska: “Autonomy and suffering at the end and other moments of life”

For further programme information, email Jennifer Corns: jennifer.corns@glasgow.ac.uk

 

Conference

Suffering and Autonomy From Theory to Practice
Spring, 2018

Having considered the ways in which suffering both augments and threatens autonomy at the end of life, we turn to consider the connection between these illuminated effects and regulatory frameworks governing end of life care. Accordingly, at this conference we ask two questions. First, how are the effects of suffering on autonomy respected in existing medical and legal frameworks governing end of life care? Second, how might these frameworks appropriately be altered in response to the effects identified in workshops 1 and 2?

Presenters and further details of this conference to be confirmed.

 

To register for any Suffering and Autonomy events, please contact Jennifer Corns