Conflict resolution processes in end-of-life care disputes between families and healthcare providers in Canada.

Matthew P. Ponsford


Conflict at the end-of-life, particularly between families and health-care providers, involves many complex factors; differing opinions surrounding a patient’s prognosis, cultural differences, moral values, and religious beliefs, associated costs, internal family dynamics, and of course, legal ramifications. Legislative reform at both the provincial and federal levels with respect to assisted dying has had far-reaching implications for healthcare decision-making for families, healthcare providers, religious groups, and others. These reforms provide the backdrop for this paper, which examines the conflict resolution processes that can provide a solution amidst an often stressful, costly, and time-consuming ordeal. This paper reviews several processes, but focuses on the Ontario Consent and Capacity Board. In addition, this paper discusses the importance of empathy and cultural understanding in the face of cross-cultural conflict in end-of-life decision-making processes.

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