Mrs. B, an 88 years old woman, was hospitalized with anemia, lower leg edema and ascites. She was living alone while receiving care in a day-care center for seniors. Mrs. B’s only family was her son, who lived in the same town, but it was a health care worker who brought Mrs. B to the hospital. The son arrived at the hospital later. The Doctor said to Mrs. B: “Your hemoglobin level six months ago was 12, but now it is only 4. Your anemia may possibly be caused by stomach bleeding, so a thorough examination is necessary. If not treated, terrible problems might occur, and no treatment means you will likely die.” The patient, however, refused the treatment by saying that she was too old, and the gastric camera was terrifying. The son added, “I want to respect my mother’s decision. I knew that her legs and her abdomen were swollen but because of her age I did not want her to be brought to the hospital. As far as she does not want treatment, I agree with her” What do the nurses do and why? In the event that other treatment options were available for Mrs. B, how would the nurse approach Mrs. B about it? Should the nurses simply respect the patient’s choice? Why? Why not? What reasons given by Mrs. B need further exploration?
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