10 Ethical Principles in Geriatrics and Long Term Care

Some principles truly withstand the test of time.

I was recently perusing information from the Annals of Long Term Care, dated March of 2005.
The information covered, in part, the vital importance in staying true to certain ethical principles concerning geriatric care.

This is my brief synopsis of what I found.

1. Beneficence – Do right by the patient and consider what is in their best interests.

2. Non – Maleficence – Avoid harm and implement effective non-hospital treatment wherever indicated.
3. Futility of Treatment – Individual assessment of each patient to ensure that treatment is consistent with realistic goals.
4. Confidentiality – Complete and absolute confidentiality is the underlying tenant. Comply with all state laws and HIPPA rules.
5. Autonomy and Informed Consent – A patient has the inherent right of self-determination and to consent and/or refuse certain treatments.
6. Physician-Patient Relationship – A therapeutic alliance of fidelity, trust and confidentiality should always exist between patient and physician.
7. Truth Telling – Physicians have a mandate to be truthful in their reporting of clinical information to the patient. They may not obfuscate, distort, or otherwise cover up the facts.
8. Justice – Distribute resources and treatment in an equitable manner. Be fair and lawful. Make objective decisions and not emotional or subjective ones.
9. Non-Abandonment – Physicians have a duty to uphold the principle of fidelity and not to abandon the patient after establishing a therapeutic relationship.
10. Limited Resources – Realize that there are often limited healthcare resources and make decisions in a non-discriminatory and objective manner.

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