• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Advance Directives

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The importance of advance directives in maintaining patient autonomy during end-of-life health care decisions Dean Myers Ethics & Compliance in the Healthcare Industry; BU 560 Dr. Mark Emerson August 7, 2007 Societal attitudes regarding death and dying have changed substantially over the past 20 years. Once a topic of limited conversation even among medical providers and ethicists, a vast majority of Americans currently express a genuine level of comfort discussing these types of issues. According to an American Medical Association study in 1988, only 15 percent of adults completed an advance directive (AD) and outlined their wishes with a friend or family member. A contrasting study in 2004 noted an obvious shift with 90 percent of Americans specifically talking with a family member about the death and dying process and 42 percent completing an advance directive (VITAS, 2004, Major Findings �). With 2.4 million Americans dying each year, we must promote the use of advance directives and consistent communication with our loved ones and physician about the type of medical treatment we desire when faced with a "life limiting condition" to ensure patient autonomy throughout this process (NHPCO, 2004, Intro �). Advance directives are "written instructions which communicate your wishes about the care and treatment you want to receive if you reach the point where you can no longer speak for yourself" (FCA, 2000). ...read more.

Middle

defines a 'life-limiting condition' as: a medical or surgical condition with significant functional impairment that is not likely (in the opinion of medical authorities) to be reversible by curative therapies, and that is anticipated in its ordinary course to progress toward death despite attempts at curative therapies or modulation, the time course of which may or may not be determinable through reasonable medical prognostication. State law may impose additional conditions or may limit the treatments to which the living will applies. If a patient's condition was not diagnosed as life-limiting but the patient was unable to make decisions for himself, the durable power of attorney for health care would be effective but the living would not go into effect. Many, but not all, states recognize a living will as a legally binding document, even if a durable power of attorney for health care does not exist. Id., FAQ �. As state laws governing the use of advance directives vary, the validity of a living will may not be recognized in another state. Some states automatically honor directives from other states while some evaluate whether or not the directive conforms to its own law. Advance directives do not expire but if a new document is executed, the prior directive is considered null and void. ...read more.

Conclusion

The advance directive affords the individual the same right as they held when they were able to verbally express their refusal (Ortman, 2004). Conclusion Patient autonomy is one of the 5 basic principles of ethics, yet arguably held in even higher regard in the subfield of bioethics. The complexity of medical conditions during end-of-life care negatively affects an individual's ability to participate effectively, if at all, in the myriad of decisions that occur every day. When a person becomes incompetent as can occur during end-of-life care, they cannot verbally consent or refuse to consent to a medical treatment or course of treatment. Ortman (2004, Conclusion �) delivers an astute synopsis of the progressive dilemma: "Modern advancements in medical knowledge have created legal, ethical, political, and economic dilemmas beyond those encountered in 'traditional' medicine." The execution of an advance directive allows an individual to control the medical care they receive in future end-of-life situations, when they become unable to consent to or refuse a specific medical treatment. We must promote the use of advance directives and consistent communication with our loved ones and physician about the type of medical treatment we desire when faced with a life limiting condition to ensure patient autonomy throughout this difficult process. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Healthcare section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work