Termination of Life-Sustaining Inpatient Treatment

September 22, 2023 | Health System Risk Management


State statutes, court decisions, professional guidelines, accreditation standards, and federal regulations all have an influence on end-of-life treatment decisions. Ideally, the decision to terminate life-sustaining treatment (also referred to as withholding or withdrawing life support) rests with the patient as long as they have decisional capacity or valid advance directives that state their end-of-life care preferences and/or appoint a surrogate decision-maker on their behalf. Unfortunately, research continues to show that the prevalence of advance care planning is low and many individuals at end-of-life do not have decisional capacity.

Many issues regarding termination of life-sustaining treatment are discussed elsewhere as part of Advance Care Planning: Acute Care​, which was created to emphasize the critical importance of supporting timely advance care planning, shared decision-making, and person-centered care at end of life. It discusses key elements of end-of-life care, including ethical and legal considerations...

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