Issues with End-of-Life Care in Nursing

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To many, death may seem like a daunting topic, but it is a topic, which affects everyone and should be discussed. Every person deserves to have some autonomy when it comes to end-of-life care decisions. There are ethical and legal disputes that arise because of disagreements between patients, families, and medical professionals. Unfortunately, there is not always a clear right answer to what extent or how something should be done. How to care for a dying individual also presents a plethora of issues, especially for nurses. This is mostly due to lack of support in the work place and community settings for that patient and their family. Analyzing these issues can only aid in more open discussions and the progressive evolution of better care for terminal patients. Ultimately, better care and education can assist these patients in dying with the dignity they rightfully deserve.

Nurses must follow a certain code of ethics in which they are held accountable for maintaining a patient’s healthy status or returning them to a state of well-being and doing so without causing them physical or emotional pain (Izumi, Nagae, Sakurai, & Imamura, 2012). When it comes to end-of-life care, nurses must also “alleviate suffering” (Izumi et al, 2012, p. 614). This is a very important code to stand by as it pertains to caring for patients before death, because there can be a great deal of controversy between physicians, families, and the patient’s wishes. This statement by Izumi et al (2012) “nursing care to alleviate suffering is meant for all individuals, families, and communities” shows how important it is for nurses to listen to everyone and comfort everyone through this process of dying. That means that nurses have a duty to not only their patient, but to everyone close to them, to ensure that they do not endure any pain from decisions that are made. These ethical dilemmas faced are: who has the right to palliative care, when should it be introduced, and who is the...
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