Legal and ethical issues in end of life care: implications for primary health care
Intended for healthcare professionals
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Legal and ethical issues in end of life care: implications for primary health care

Helen Taylor Senior lecturer, Institute of Health and Society, University of Worcester

Increasing numbers of patients are achieving their wish to die in the familiar surroundings of their own homes, which means that providing high quality, person-centred end of life care is likely to be an important part of the primary health care nurse’s role. Care at the end of life may present a number of legal and ethical challenges, as nurses manage the requirement to achieve effective palliation of pain and other distressing symptoms, while recognising that a point may be reached where active treatment, such as artificial hydration and nutrition, is no longer appropriate. This article aims to provide nurses with an opportunity to consider the challenges that may arise when caring for a dying patient in the community and to consider how they might manage these issues in their practice.

Primary Health Care. 25, 5, 34-41. doi: 10.7748/phc.25.5.34.e1032


Peer review

This article has been subject to double-blind peer review and checked using antiplagiarism software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 18 June 2015

Accepted: 02 April 2015

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