As part of our committment to our patients and our profession, we commit to principles of excellence within our practices and we hold ourselves to the highest standard possible. These principles help define our patient care. We make the committment to not harm our patients by either omission or commission. We are also dedicated to the prevention and relief of human pain and suffering.
The trust between a physician and their patient is a sacred bond we seek to protect. To do that, we respect the confidentiality of all communications exchanged with our patients, and we also hold ourselves to being honest in all circumstances. We believe our patients have the right to be carefully taught about all aspects of their disease and treatment so they may give consent that is properly informed.
We are also dedicated to the service of all people, regardless of their economic resources or the nature of their illness. We intervene on their behalf as advocates for adequate care and should always have their best interests in mind. This means we commit to not making allocation decisions that violate this priority. Our patient care decisions should never be influenced by our own income considerations. Holding ourselves to these standards only seeks to enhance good healthcare delivery.
Advance planning helps give family members direction regarding medical decisions in the event the patient should be unable to speak for themself regarding end of life decision making. It is an extremely important aspect of patient care to take the time to ensure that our patients are prepared for the inevitable conclusion of life. Many of us will face the loss of our decision-making capacity. Discussing your patient's healthcare preferences can help to avoid confusion and heartache for the family, as well as ensure that you can provide better care for all concerned.
This advance planing may express the patient's attitudes about health, life and death, and it may come in several different and distinct forms. As healthcare professionals, we should carefully examine and discuss these advance directives with our patients. We also have to be willing to follow these wishes provided they don't conflict with our own moral values.
The following information focuses on the latest information about the ethics of patient care and advance planning:
- Dialysis Patients' Preferences for Family-Based Advance Care Planning - Stephen C. Hines, PhD, et al
- Improving Advance Care Planning by Accommodating Family Preferences - Stephen C. Hines, PhD, et al
- Age-Based Rationing of Healthcare - John F. Kilner, PhD
- ESRD Patient Quality of Life - Paul L. Kimmel, MD, et al
- Shared Decision-Making in Dialysis: The New RPA/ASN Guideline on Appropriate Initiation and Withdrawal of Treatment - David Z. Levine, MD
- Dialysis Decision Making in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States - John K. McKenzie, MD, et al
- Communicating Prognosis in the Dialysis Consent Process: A Patient-Centered, Guideline-Supported Approach - Donna M. Michel and Alvin H. Moss
- Competence, Capacity and Surrogate Decision-Making - Robert Orr, MD, CM
"No one likes to either give or receive bad news. In healthcare, the communication of a poor prognosis can be done poorly, resulting in an alienated patient. Or it can be done well, leading to the establishment (or reaffirmation) or a strong and caring professional relationship."
—Robert Orr, MD, CM
The American Academy of Medical Ethics promotes the interests of medical educators, medical practitioners and scientists, the care and well-being of patients, the protection of public health, and the betterment of the medical profession, as well as protects and promotes the historical values that have provided the longstanding foundation for Western healthcare. We foresee the standard of healthcare in North American once again defined by the Hippocratic tradition.
We would love for you to join us in our efforts to promote ethical healthcare.
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