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Clinical Ethics

Conflicts and moral dilemmas force individuals, family members and health care workers to make difficult decisions when it comes to the areas of aging and health. Emory is committed to ensuring all aspects of ethical dilemmas are valued and considered in decisions affecting our patients.

Emory has an ethics committee comprised of professionals who meet regularly to discuss and seek solutions to ethical conflicts and dilemmas that arise in caregiving. The committee is made up of doctors, nurses, social workers, administrators, community members and chaplains. A patient, family member or healthcare team member should contact the ethics committee when an ethical conflict or question cannot be resolved. Issues can involve mobility, feeding, care, treatment or resuscitation. Please have your nurse call the chaplain on duty who will contact the committee.

Advance Directives

Advance directives are documents that should be written in advance of a serious illness or injury. These documents, including the living will and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (DPAHC), allow you to share your wishes for medical interventions and treatments with your family and healthcare team. The living will relates to specific medical interventions and treatments you desire should a life-threatening occurrence affect your physical and mental capacity. The DPAHC lets you name a person to make healthcare decisions for you should you be unable to make them yourself.

Federal regulations require health professionals ask if you have advance directives. If these documents are available, please bring copies with you to the hospital so they can be placed in your medical record. If you do not have a living will and/or DPAHC completed, Advance Directives – A Guide to Planning Your Medical Care Options is available in the social services, admissions and pastoral services offices. Because completing an advance directive takes some time, please notify a staff member as soon as possible of your intentions so the social services or pastoral services office may be called. A representative from either department will provide assistance to you and your family in completing these forms. Both the living will and DPAHC may be changed as your options for healthcare evolve. Please be aware, advance directives may vary from state to state. For more information, please your nurse call the chaplain on duty.

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