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The Use of Artificial Nutrition and Hydration in Terminally Ill Patients - Coursework Example

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The paper "The Use of Artificial Nutrition and Hydration in Terminally Ill Patients" discusses that the utilization of ANH for patients at the end of life hardly ever restores nutritional status or extends life. In most patients, ANH has the likelihood of causing burdensome and distressful symptoms…
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The Use of Artificial Nutrition and Hydration in Terminally Ill Patients
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Download file to see previous pages The sanctity of life has begun to move from its central place to compete with the quality of life issues in the health care arena as well as Japanese society. Earlier in Japan, as in many industrialized countries, the only ethical position in this situation was the sanctity of life and therefore the clinically right action was always to give treatment. Now, with more advanced medical technology and a national decade on these issues, a more recent concept quality of life, especially for dying patients, has gained influence. The lack of knowledge that scientifically justifies giving or not giving AFF to terminally ill patients also prevails internationally (Konishi, Davis & Aiba, 2002). As controversial and sensitive ethical issues continue to challenge nurses and other health care professionals, many of them have begun to develop a unique appreciation for the diverse ethical viewpoints of others.
ANH is not categorized as a treatment that must always be provided, and in coming to a decision about forgoing or continuing ANH, the patients' surrogates are allowed to either use their knowledge about the patient's desires and values or weigh the costs and benefits of tube feeding against the costs and benefits of waiving this treatment.
At the same time, Americans still have a good deal of anxiety about the prospect of discontinuing food and fluids, both for themselves and for their loved ones. This is one reason why there are approximately 1.5 million patients being tube fed in the United States today. Half of this group is over the age of sixty-five, and many if not most of these patients are severely and irreversibly demented (OTA 1987). The clinical reality is that tube feeding is often provided as a matter of course and that the choice of whether to tube feed or not is never fully explored. This situation contrasts markedly with the situation just a few decades ago.
Today, the modus operandi of physicians and families is turned on its head. In past decades and centuries, family members provided around-the-clock palliative care in the home, and physicians occasionally stopped by to do what they could.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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