Is Paternalism ever ethically justified in the provision of heath care?
An Advance Care Directive (‘Living Will’) is a written statement regarding someone’s wishes for their future health care. An Advance Care Directive can be made by anyone who has the capacity to do so. An Advance Care Directive is only used if, at some point in the future, the person becomes incapable of making health care decisions for themselves (due to illness or injury) (Advance Care Directives, 2014). Health care professionals are required to respect patients choices and gain consent (or, at least, assent) prior to providing treatment or care. They are also required to respect patient confidentiality. Based on what you have learned in this unit discuss the ethical issue of informed consent in relation to the following: • What are the features of a valid (legal) consent; and how does this relate to an advanced care directive? • Why does it matter ethically speaking that a patient’s choice be respected? • Are there any expectations to the requirement to respect patient’s choices? • Is Paternalism ever ethically justified in the provision of heath care? • What is the role of the HCP in relation to advocacy for a patient’s wishes and in particular when an advance care directive is present? • What are the legal and professional frameworks that guide a health care professional’s practice in Australia? Consider the above question from the point of view of your own professional prospective and from the perspective of another health care team member. Respond to this question by drawing on what you have studied in this unit for example: relevant codes of conduct, ethics and practice and laws, theories, ethical concepts, principles and values.