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Ethical and moral dilemmas caring for people who are dying: why we need to plan in advance
  1. L Sneesby
  1. Calvary Mater Newcastle


Health care professionals encounter ethical and moral dilemmas on a daily basis, particularly those caring for dying patients. A person facing death may be confronted with a myriad of issues, not only personal, physical and psycho-spiritual but also decisions regarding medical treatments. Included are: resuscitation, artificial hydration and provision of nutrition, place of death and whether to continue or cease active treatment. Never before in the history of mankind have we had so many decisions to make due to longer life expectancies, modern technology and medical advancements.

There is a growing awareness of the concept of Advanced Care Planning (ACP) in Australia This concept was developed to address decision making at the end of life with the aim of respecting choice, autonomy, preferences and personal values of the individual in future time of reduced capacity. ACP enables discussion of an individual's goals, needs and values in a non-crisis situation. ACP enables people to have time to consider (in the context of their current health) what would be an acceptable and what would be an unacceptable way to live life.

This poster is a visual depiction of frequently encountered difficulties and dilemmas in end of life decision making for he patient, family and health care professional. It highlights the advantages of Advanced Care Directives to ensure the patient's will and autonomy is respected. This poster will also depict some of the challenges, barriers and possible disadvantages of ACD.

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