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Keywords

Ethics, Legal aspects, Pain, Professional standards, Terminal care

 

Authors

  1. Zalon, Margarete L. PhD, RN, CNS-BC
  2. Constantino, Rose E. PhD, JD, RN, FAAN, FACFE
  3. Andrews, Kathleen L. MSN, RN, BC

Abstract

Critical care units are frequently the setting for the delivery of end-of-life care. A case study describing pain management for a terminally ill woman in an intensive care unit is used to illustrate conflicts that may be experienced by critical care nurses. The application of standards of professional organizations and regulatory bodies is described, as well as the ethical principles of autonomy, veracity, beneficence, nonmalfeasance, and double effect. Important legal and sociocultural considerations are included.