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Disciplines: Speech-Language Pathology
Hours: 2 Contact Hours
Author(s): Sherry M. Cummings, PhD, MSW, MA
Peer Reviewer(s): Amy Hasselkus, MA, CCC-SLP
Item#: O2500
Contents: 1 Course Book (56 pages)

Ethical Practices With Older Adults for Speech-Language Pathologists

Price $19.95
Item # O2500
When available, the Online Course format is included with the hard copy, eBook, or audio book formats!

Release Date: October 3, 2016

Expiration Date: September 14, 2018

The number of older adults age 65 and older living in the United States is growing rapidly. Almost 40 million older adults were living in the United States in 2010. This number is projected to rise to more than 72 million by 2030, when approximately one in five U.S. residents will be age 65 or older. The most rapidly growing subpopulation of older adults is the “oldest-old” – age 85 and older – a group that grew to 5.5 million in 2010. Of these “oldest-old,” centenarians – those age 100 and older – are the group increasing at the fastest rate.

In the coming years, speech-language pathologists (SLPs) will increasingly face the aging of the population, along with the accompanying health and economic challenges. The purpose of this course is to highlight ethical issues that may confront SLPs working with older adults and their families as these individuals near the end of life. Many of these issues are related to advances in medical technologies that have occurred over the past several decades (and that continue to be developed) and have led to increasingly complex choices. The course will provide background on ethical frameworks and principles used in healthcare settings for guidance in resolving ethical problems. This course will also identify major ethical issues concerning older adults and healthcare decisions and provide a model for addressing ethical dilemmas in healthcare settings.


This program is offered for 0.20 ASHA CEUs (Intermediate-Level, Related Area)

Course Objectives

  • Identify frameworks and principles commonly used in healthcare settings for resolving ethical problems.
  • Discuss the steps used in resolving ethical dilemmas.
  • Distinguish between capacity and competence.
  • Describe the concept of advance care planning.
  • Identify the hierarchy used in surrogate decision making.
  • Discuss ethical concerns that commonly arise related to the use of medical technologies.

Sherry M. Cummings, PhD, MSW, MA, is associate dean and professor at the University of Tennessee, College of Social Work, in Nashville, TN, where she has served on the faculty since 1998. Dr. Cummings holds a doctorate in social work from the University of Georgia, Athens, an MSW from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and a master’s degree in theology from Villanova University, Philadelphia. She has written and published extensively, including journal articles, books, book chapters, and government reports, and has presented papers nationally on the mental health needs of older adults, the impact of these needs on their caregivers, and the ethical dilemmas in working with older clients. Dr. Cummings has been actively involved in the development of curriculum materials for gerontological training in graduate social work education and has worked closely with government agencies to promote programs addressing the mental health needs of older adults.



Financial: Received an honorarium from Western Schools for this work.

Nonfinancial: No nonfinancial relationships disclosed.


Amy Hasselkus, MA, CCC-SLP, is a licensed and American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)- certified speech-language pathologist. Amy obtained her master’s degree in speech-language pathology from the University of Georgia and worked in a hospital in Harrisburg, PA, providing services to children and adults with speech, language, cognitive, and swallowing disorders. She then went to work for the ASHA, where she frequently addressed ethical concerns faced by SLPs in health care, before getting a second MA in communication (with a focus on health communication) from George Mason University. She now teaches as an adjunct instructor at George Mason and a local community college as well as works on continuing education programs for speech-language pathologists.



Financial: Received an honorarium from Western Schools for this work.

Nonfinancial: No nonfinancial relationships disclosed.

  • Courses must be completed on or before the expiration date noted in the course description above.
  • You must score 75% or higher on the final exam and complete the course evaluation to pass this course to earn ASHA CEUs and/or receive a certificate of completion.
  • Through our review processes, Western Schools ensures that this course content is presented in a balanced, unbiased manner and is free from commercial influence. It is Western Schools’ policy not to accept commercial support.
  • See author and peer reviewer tabs for disclosures. All other persons involved in the planning and development of this course have disclosed no relevant financial relationships or other conflicts of interest related to the course content.