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NewsCAP: Guidance on dealing with ‘potentially inappropriate’ requests for treatment in the ICU

AJN, American Journal of Nursing: August 2015 - Volume 115 - Issue 8 - p 15
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000470386.02653.b0
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Guidance on dealing with ‘potentially inappropriate’ requests for treatment in the ICU. A new policy statement from the American Thoracic Society, in concert with other medical and nursing groups, advocates better collaboration between caregivers and patients regarding difficult treatment decisions in the ICU. Early intensive communication between a patient's family and clinicians prevents later conflicts, the authors write. Should conflicts arise, palliative care and ethics consultants could negotiate an agreement. Other steps for solving disputes over care may include—assuming time permits—meeting with a hospital ethics committee, getting a second medical opinion, or transferring the patient to another medical center. Clinicians should use the term “potentially inappropriate” rather than “futile” for treatments that will likely be ineffective, and they should refuse to provide “strictly futile interventions,” as well as those proscribed by law.

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