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The views and opinions expressed in our blog series are those of the authors and are not necessarily supported by CareSearch, Flinders University and/or the Australian Government Department of Health.
Some patients do not receive adequate pain and symptom relief at the end of life, causing distress to patients, families and healthcare professionals. It is unclear whether undertreatment of symptoms occurs, in part, because of nurses' concerns about legal and/or disciplinary repercussions if the patient dies after medication is administered. Dr Katrin Gerber, Professor Lindy Willmott, Professor Ben White, and Distinguished Professor Patsy Yates from Queensland University of Technology discuss the findings from their research and interviews with nurses from different clinical backgrounds and settings about their concerns when providing pain and symptom relief to patients near the end of life.
End of life law governs medical decisions made at the end of life, as well as around Advance Care Planning.
Every year in Australia thousands of deaths occur following a medical decision to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment. This is just one type of end of life decision which may arise in aged care practice.
One part of advance care planning that is often unseen is law. Yet law plays an important role in end-of-life care. Professor Ben White and Professor Lindy Willmott from Queensland University of Technology explains the legal aspects of planning for advance care and end of life, and how the Australian Centre for Health Law Research supports health professionals.