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Hastings Center calls on health care professionals and organizations to meet standards for good care near the end of life
Date:5/7/2013

People with chronic or life-threatening illnesses often experience problems with their care, including confusion and conflict over how to make good decisions, poor communication with care providers, inadequate pain and symptom relief, and treatments with little or no benefit. Poor care decreases patients' quality of life, increases family stress, and adds cost but not value to health care, often with heartbreaking financial consequences for families. A new set of consensus guidelines produced by The Hastings Center can help health care professionals improve care near the end of life. The guidelines clarify what is ethically and legally permissible in the United States regarding the use life-sustaining technologies, provide in-depth guidance on talking with patients and surrogates, and offer recommendations about how to improve the delivery of care.

The Hastings Center Guidelines for Decisions on Life-Sustaining Treatment and Care Near the End of Life, just released by Oxford University Press, updates and significantly expands the Center's groundbreaking comprehensive ethics guidelines first published in 1987. The original edition was foundational in shaping the ethical and legal framework for medical decision-making in the U.S. It was cited in the U.S. Supreme Court's 1990 decision in the case of Nancy Beth Cruzan, which established the Constitutional right of patients to refuse life-sustaining medical treatments and affirmed the authority of surrogate decision-makers for patients without decision-making capacity. The original edition has also been influential internationally.

The new book synthesizes the past 26 years of research and innovation in quality improvement, patient safety, and palliative care, with insights from more than 60 experts in medicine, law, nursing, and other disciplines, as well
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Contact: Susan Gilbert
gilberts@thehastingscenter.org
The Hastings Center
Source:Eurekalert

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