NCCHC Publishes New Position Statement on End-of-Life Care
The goal of end-of-life care in corrections, as in other contexts, is to prevent or relieve suffering as much as possible while preserving and respecting the patient’s expressed desires. At the end of life, it is important to protect the autonomy, rights, dignity, and desires that the patient has considered and expressed.
As many correctional health providers and patients may not be fully informed on these issues, NCCHC has published a new position statement, Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment.
Decisions regarding end-of-life care may include cardiopulmonary resuscitation, defibrillation, certain antiarrhythmic medications, mechanical ventilation with intubation, artificial nutrition and hydration, terminal sedation, and withholding and withdrawing treatments. These decisions are important because medical interventions can prolong life expectancies despite the chronic or terminal nature of an illness, yet at the cost of pain and suffering and with no promise for recovery.
The position statement urges correctional facilities to establish clear policies for creating, documenting, and honoring advance directives.