Counselling Dilemma: A Sensitive Client Request
You have a long-term client who is suffering from liver failure. Trevor is 45 years of age and was diagnosed with this condition approximately 3 years ago. His state of health is rapidly deteriorating and he has recently been hospitalised, awaiting a transplant. Trevor has a rare blood type and all attempts to acquire a compatible organ for him have been unsuccessful. The medical team is urging Trevor to move on to a more intensive life support system while he awaits a transplant.
You have worked with Trevor regarding his deteriorating health and related issues for over 18 months. Trevor has accepted his declining health and has worked through his feelings about death. The possibility of a transplant was Trevor’s last hope, however. He is now faced with the prospect of spending his final days in intensive care and has been weighing his options about refusing treatment or waiting for the transplant.
During your last counselling session with Trevor and his wife, Trevor decided that he wants to refuse intensive treatment and to return to the comfort of home. He asked if you would talk with the medical team and inform them of his decision.
Would you agree to Trevor’s request? What would your values be in this situation? How might they affect your actions in this case?