DISCUSSION: Ethical Dilemma

the question:

What else might Donna have done to resolve this situation?

To what extent was the use of deception appropriate or inappropriate? Why?

the case:

Donna has been handling the affairs of her elderly aunt with Alzheimer’s disease

for nearly two years and it was taking a toll on her both emotionally and physically.

Recently Auntie had to move out of her own home and into a long-term care facility.

The move had been traumatic for all involved. Donna was doing the best she could to

be there for her Aunt even though she worked full-time and had a multitude of other

responsibilities. Auntie had been a hoarder so there was much work to be done at the

house before it could be sold. In the interim, Donna needed to minimize the cost of

maintaining the house so as not to waste Auntie’s money. She called and was able to

cancel the newspaper, medical alert service, and the landline telephone at the house by

simply explaining the situation, but when she called to cancel the cable television, she

was told that they would have to speak directly with Auntie. She explained that Auntie

was 92, had Alzheimer’s disease, had moved to a long-term care facility, and was not

capable of making the call.

The person she was talking to said they would still need to speak with Auntie. Donna

said that would not be possible and that she had her Auntie’s power of attorney. The

cable representative was adamant that they had to speak with Auntie regardless of the

circumstances. Donna was at her wit’s end and hung up. She thought about trying to

call the cable company from the facility and putting Auntie on the phone. She could not

imagine it ending with anything other than Auntie being terribly upset, so she called

the cable company back and a different person answered the call. Donna pretended

to be Auntie speaking slowly in a shaky voice while she explained that she needed to

cancel her cable service. In the end impersonating Auntie worked and the cable service

was cancelled. Donna didn’t like having to pretend to be her aunt, but she didn’t see

a better alternative