A patient and relative centred evaluation of treatment escalation plans: a replacement for the do-not-resuscitate process

Journal of Medical Ethics 36 (9):518-520 (2010)
Abstract
The Treatment Escalation Plan (TEP) was introduced into our trust in an attempt to improve patient involvement and experience of their treatment in hospital and to embrace and clarify a wider remit of treatment options than the Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order currently offers. Our experience suggests that the patient and family are rarely engaged in DNR discussions. This is acutely relevant considering that the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) now obliges these discussions to take place. The TEP is a form that the doctor completes, ideally with the competent patient or close relative, documenting what treatment options would be appropriate if that patient were to become acutely unwell. Ventilation of the lungs, cardiac resuscitation, renal replacement therapy, intravenous fluids and antibiotics are all discussed. The study evaluated patient and relative experiences with the TEP. 55 patients or their relatives were interviewed regarding their experience of the TEP and thoughts regarding the process. 96% of patients and relatives evaluated thought that the TEP was a good idea. Free text comments were all positive and only 34% of patients claimed to feel anxious when completing the form. Following this study, the TEP has been expanded hospital wide and into the community within our trust. Discussions are currently taking place in hospitals within our region to introduce the TEP form into other local trusts
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Suze Berkhout (2012). Relational Autonomy on the Cutting Edge. American Journal of Bioethics 12 (7):59 - 61.
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