Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation in Hospice

Muriel R. Gillick

in Hospice Ethics

Published in print September 2014 | ISBN: 9780199944941
Published online March 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780199333165 | DOI:
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation in Hospice

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This chapter addresses the ethics of providing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to patients enrolled in hospice, given that patients who select hospice care have decided to forgo potentially life-prolonging treatment in exchange for comfort near the end of life. Influential arguments favoring offering CPR, such as the promotion of autonomy and justice, are reviewed. Relevant regulatory requirements in the United States and the United Kingdom, the evidence for futility of CPR in dying patients, and the symbolism of CPR are discussed. Finally, the chapter translates ethics into health policy by recommending that patients who enroll in hospice receive an out-of-hospital do-not-resuscitate (DNR) form along with other enrollment materials such as a medication kit and 24-hour contact telephone number. This approach respects the right of patients to make health care decisions, honors the choice they make about CPR, but recommends a DNR order as consistent with usual hospice practice.

Keywords: autonomy; cardiopulmonary resuscitation; CPR; DNR; ethics; futility; health policy; hospice; justice; symbolism

Chapter.  6147 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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