The Ethics of Aggressive Discharge Planning

Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 19 (1):75 (2010)
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In any healthcare system in which demand exceeds supply—which means any typical public healthcare system—patients cannot always get the care they want or need when they want or need it. It is also unrealistic to suppose that it will ever be otherwise. There have been such advances in medicine and growth in the population that even if we forgot about all other goods such as education, roads, social services, and so forth and put the entire budget into healthcare, there would still be a gap between supply and demand. Moreover, even if we could by that expedient make them match and had eyes only for health, we still should not. For it is now understood that healthcare is the least important determinant of health, lining up well behind poverty and social status. But if suboptimal care is to be our destiny, we must plan how it is to be delivered



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