Navigation Links
New ethical guidance from ACP for patient-physician-caregiver relationship

PHILADELPHIA, January 12, 2010 -- The American College of Physicians (ACP) has issued a position paper to guide ethical relationships among patients, physicians, and caregivers.

The Journal of General Internal Medicine has published "Family Caregivers, Patients and Physicians: Ethical Guidance to Optimize Relationships." The text and an online appendix of resources to help physicians manage relationships with patients and caregivers are available at

"The ethical guidance outlined in this paper is intended to heighten physician awareness of the importance and complexity of the patient-physician-caregiver relationship," said ACP President Joseph Stubbs, MD, FACP. "It is essential for physicians to consider quality of life for both patients and caregivers."

The paper -- endorsed by 10 other professional medical societies -- defines caregivers as relatives, partners, friends, and neighbors of patients who assist with activities of daily living and complex health care needs. It outlines four primary principles for physicians, who may face ethical challenges collaborating with patients and caregivers while preserving the primacy of the patient-physician relationship:

  • Respect for the patient's dignity, rights, and values should guide all patient-physician- caregiver interactions.

  • Effective communication and physician accessibility are fundamental to supporting the patient and family caregiver.

  • The physician should recognize the value of family caregivers as a source of continuity regarding the patient's medical and psychosocial history and facilitate the intellectual and emotional transition to the end stage of serious chronic illness.

  • When the caregiver is a health care professional, the physician should draw appropriate boundaries to ensure that the caregiver is not expected to function in a professional capacity in relation to the patient and that the caregiver receives appropriate support, referrals, and services.

"Patients depend on caregivers for assistance with managing complex care and communicating with health care professionals," said Virginia Hood, MBBS, MPH, FACP, chair of ACP's Ethics, Professionalism and Human Rights Committee. "Physician recognition of the value of the caregiver role may contribute to a positive care giving experience and decrease rates of patient hospitalization and institutionalization."

Although hospice and palliative care address the impact of illness on both patients and families, the authors write, historically the patient-physician relationship has focused on the patient and his / her rights and interests with less attention to the patient's experience within the context of his / her family and social relationships. Contemporary bioethics with its emphasis on patient autonomy and confidentiality has supported this model but is beginning to recognize the need for a family-centered approach.


Contact: Steve Majewski
American College of Physicians

Related medicine news :

1. Scientists highlight benefits of genetic research in sport, but warn of ethical concerns
2. Long-awaited international ethical guidelines for biobank researchers
3. Penn wins $5M to start center for ethical, legal and social implications research
4. Springer to publish new journal focusing on ethical issues in neuroscience
5. Genetic testing in newborns and children: Ethical issues affecting families and physicians
6. Ethisphere Institute Names SCA to List of Top Ethical Companies
7. Stem cell research from an ethical point of view
8. Legal and ethical issues in medical physics
9. Disaster medicine ethical guidelines needed for US health-care professionals
10. AxoGen Awarded Accreditation from American Association of Tissue Banks : Decision Affirms AxoGen's Commitment to Safety and Ethicality in the Development and Distribution of AVANCE Nerve Graft for Treatment of Peripheral Nerve Injuries
11. Kevin P. Miller's Film "Generation RX" Reveals Widespread Ethical Conflicts, Risks of Psychiatric Drugs to Children
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Brillianteen, ... friendships, and learning in its 65th Anniversary Brillianteen Revue, scheduled for March 4-6, ... , For 65 years, Brillianteen has been a treasured tradition for numerous families ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Castlewood Treatment Center for Eating ... disorders as a result of the $20,000 raised at the center’s recent ... Golf Club in Eureka, will help individuals who otherwise might not seek treatment ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... An unlikely ... resulting in a way for homeless people to have a more dignified and ... new initiative whereby they are repurposing plastic bags into sleeping mats for the ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Students and parents have something to be thankful ... Create Real Impact awards. California Casualty is proud to support the contest ... distracted and reckless driving, the number one killer of young drivers. , Almost ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , ... November 24, 2015 , ... Dr. Todd S. ... offer laser services to many of his patients. Dr. Afferica now uses the BIOLASE ... reduce the amount of time the doctor uses other traditional cutting tools, such as ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015  ARKRAY USA ... continues to provide evidence demonstrating the accuracy of its ... Congress on Insulin Resistance, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease in ... both the Company,s GLUCOCARD ® 01 meter and ... accuracy requirements. The ability to accurately measure glucose levels ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015  Trovagene, Inc. (NASDAQ: TROV ), a ... Executive Officer Antonius Schuh, Ph.D., is scheduled to present ... Piper Jaffray Healthcare Conference. th Annual ... Hotel in New York on ... Schuh will be available for one-on-one meetings during the ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015 USP ... hazardous drug preparations (e.g. pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, nurses, ... veterinary technicians). The chapter also covers all entities ... (e.g., pharmacies, hospitals, other healthcare institutions, patient treatment ... --> --> What ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: