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Advance Directives Catherine Miller IRSC Ethical/Legal Issues NUR3826 Carol Amole, Debra Cornwell, Susan Wise December 1, 2015 Advance Directives An 89 year old patient came to the emergency room from a nursing home. Per the nursing home staff, the patient had a “floppy leg” and grimaced when that leg was moved. The patient’s advance directive paperwork was provided. The patient is non-verbal. An advance directive is a document composed by competent patient’s that ensure the right of self-determination: the right of every person to make their own decisions about their medical treatment, including the right to refuse treatment (Martin, 2013). As the primary nurse for the patient, I felt it was my responsibility to inform…show more content…
I must be aware, as the patient’s advocate, of the choice of each individual patient regarding his or her medical management or, as in this case, the withholding of treatment. I am also an advocate for the patient’s family, in this case, the spouse. The spouse explained to us that up to two day ago, that patient was able to sit in a wheelchair, ate pureed foods and was awake and alert. What was presented the day in the ER was a patient with multiple fractures, nonverbal and very lethargic. The husband was not aware of any falls, or medical conditions that would cause her symptoms. He also chose not to follow up with exams looking for a reason, such as a stroke. We accepted his wishes and returned his wife back to the nursing home with no treatment. The decision was made as a team effort between the spouse, medical staff, and the patient, with her advance directives. I, as a Registered Nurse, am bound by duty to protect the patient’s rights. This includes the treatment or withdrawal of medical care. Critical Care Quarterly states “The Advance Directive is a legally binding document written by a competent adult and should be carried out as such in the health care facility.”(Lark & Gatti, 1999, p. 1) References Lark, J., & Gatti, C. (1999). Compliance with Advance Directives; nursing’s
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