Claudia Oakes, assistant professor and director
of the health science program, ENHP, published an article titled,
"In Their Best Interest: The Challenge of Balancing Autonomy with
Beneficence in Clinical Practice with Older Adults," in
Gerontology Special Interest Section Quarterly, 34(3),
The article describes the ethical constructs of autonomy, which refers to a person's self-determination, and beneficence, which involves acting in a person's best interest. Clinicians must be aware that well-intentioned acts of beneficence may impede the autonomy of older adults. Intervening in older adults' daily decision making may deprive them of the opportunity to make choices that support their sense of self. Recommendations for clinical practice are included.