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Health care decision-making capacity: a legal perspective for long-term care providers

Health care decision-making capacity: a legal perspective for long-term care providers

Journal of the American Medical Directors Association 7(5): 322-326

While federal law establishes guidelines that designated facilities must follow in providing information about a patient's rights regarding self-determination in the health care decision-making process, state law determines the decision-making process and the legal requirements pertaining thereto. A person's capacity to make health care decisions or to have the authority and capacity to delegate the right to make such decisions is a legal conclusion based on statutory and common law principles. This article discusses the legal perspective of capacity in health care decision making and the legal framework of the question of whether or not a person has the capacity to make health care decisions. Western civilization's concepts of personal autonomy and self-determination are at the core of health care decision making, but health care providers must be aware that other cultures do not always share that value system. Sensitivity to multicultural diversity in this context is imperative to maintain individual self-esteem and respect, both for the patient and the patient's family.

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Accession: 049192212

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 16765870

DOI: 10.1016/j.jamda.2006.01.001

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