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Nursing and End-Of-Life Care: The Decision Making Process

Autor:   •  February 6, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  887 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,412 Views

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Nursing and End-Of-Life Care: The Decision Making Process

Purpose statement

Like every industry, ethical decision making is an issue in healthcare. Nursing encompasses taking care of individuals, families and communities who are ill or well. This also means helping terminally ill patients with end-of-life care. Ethical issues, which arise at this point, include deciding whether to give life-prolonging treatment to such patients or to succumb to a what the patient wants which usually is to be allowed to die. Most patients are not educated on their choices when it comes to deciding what they need when receiving end-of-life care and this leaves the decision making in the hands of the nurses. Nurses must therefore be able to make decisions that impact such lives positively.

Literature Review

Nurses have an ethical decision making role in end-of-life care of the terminally ill patients in relation to their treatment and the support they need. End-of-life care is defined by to Lisa Marie Chiplaskey (2011), as "an active, compassionate approach that treats, comforts, and supports persons who are living with, or dying from progressive or chronic life threatening conditions". (Pg. 1) Decision making is a tad more difficult however in life-prolonging treatment as opposed to the patient's wishes at the end of life (Paganini, 2010). Difficult decisions are made daily in life-prolonging treatment in the Emergency Units by nurses and emergency healthcare professionals (Clarke, 2008). Terminally ill patients have the right to decide what they want to be done or not when getting end-of-life care. Patients who prefer to have a peaceful death would get supportive, comfortable, and peaceful care (Gjerberg, Forde, & Bjorndal, 2011) especially as it is difficult to make decisions when patients or their family do not have money to pay for advance treatment. Caregivers then have to make a decision on what to do in terms of making these suffering patients comfortable and these should generally mean treatments which must allow nurses to alleviate pain for the suffering patients (Fisher, Rockwell, and Scott, 2008).

According to Panganini (2010), nurses play important roles in the end-of-life phase by handling patients' daily needs as well as giving support and care during the decision making process.

Early decision making is important in end-of-life care due to the fact that things can change very fast. It is therefore an imperative that patients and relatives make early decisions, giving care providers the free hand to make quality ethical decision towards end-of-life care (Clarke, 2008). Patients' relatives or next of kin should be involved in early decision making towards end-of-life care with nurses and physicians (Gjerberg, et al., 2011).

The End-of-life Care

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