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Archive for Saturday, September 8, 2001

Reality principles

September 8, 2001

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What kind of medical treatment are you entitled to at the end of your life? The following "core principles," developed in 1999 to guide treatment for dying patients, have been adopted by major medical organizations:

  • Respect the dignity of both patients and caregivers.

  • Be sensitive to and respectfu
  • of the patient's and family's wishes.

  • Use the most appropriate measures that are consistent with patient choices.

  • Encompass alleviation of pain and other physica
  • symptoms.

  • Assess and manage psychological, socia
  • and spiritual/religious problems.

  • Offer continuity (the patient should be able to continue to be cared for, if so desired, by his/her primary care and specialist providers).

  • Provide access to any therapy that may realistically be expected to improve the patient's quality of life, including alternative or nontraditiona
  • treatments.

  • Provide access to palliative care and hospice care.

  • Respect the right to refuse treatment.

  • Respect the physician's professiona
  • responsibility to discontinue some treatments when appropriate, with consideration for both patient and family preferences.

  • Promote clinica
  • and evidence-based research on providing care at the end of life.

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