Common questions

Under what circumstances can treatment be stopped or feedings withdrawn?

Under what circumstances can treatment be stopped or feedings withdrawn?

When is it justifiable to discontinue life-sustaining treatments? If the patient has the ability to make decisions, fully understands the consequences of their decision, and states they no longer want a treatment, it is justifiable to withdraw the treatment.

Is Withdrawing treatment legal?

Withholding or withdrawing treatment is regarded in law as an ‘omission’ not an ‘act’. A competent adult patient may decide to refuse treatment even where refusal may result in harm to themselves or in their own deathiii.

Is there a difference between withholding and withdrawing a treatment?

While there may be an emotional difference between not initiating an intervention at all and discontinuing it later in the course of care, there is no ethical difference between withholding and withdrawing treatment.

What is withdrawing life-sustaining treatment?

Withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment is a process that “merits the same meticulous preparation and expectation of quality that clinicians provide when they perform other procedures to initiate life support”.

When is end of life medication?

Anticipatory medicines are sometimes also called end of life medicines or just in case medicines. It’s common to prescribe medicine for pain, anxiety and agitation, nausea and vomiting and noisy respiratory secretions.

Is Withdrawing treatment really more problematic than withholding treatment?

There is little difference between withdrawing and withholding treatment but the suggestion a court application is necessary before treatment may be withdrawn will create a strong bias in favour of withholding treatment from the new patient.

When Should life support be withdrawn?

The goal of withdrawing life support when death is expected is to remove treatments that are no longer desired or indicated and that do not provide comfort to the patient.

When should I stop medical treatment?

While significant disagreements remain at important points, there is evidence of an emerging consensus in Western medicine: (1) that palliative care and counselling through the dying process should be increased whenever curative or life-sustaining treatment is curtailed; (ii) that any treatment that is not curative.

When can I withdraw medical treatment?

In general, treatment is withdrawn when death is felt to be inevitable despite continued treatment. This would typically be when dysfunction in three or more organ systems persists or worsens despite active treatment or in cases such as multiple organ failure in patients with failed bone marrow transplantation.

What to know about treatment withdrawal and end of life care?

Best practice in communication when withdrawing treatment, the physical process of treatment withdrawal, and guidance in end-of-life care will also be discussed. Finally, the role of the palliative care team and the support and expertise they bring to the management of the dying patient will be highlighted.

How does treatment withdrawal work in the ICU?

The actual process of treatment withdrawal on the ICU is subject to great variability, with a recent review concluding that there is ‘no single, universally accepted technical approach’. 15 This is in part likely to reflect the broad clinical spectrum of patients undergoing treatment withdrawal and transition to end-of-life care.

How often do patients die after treatment withdrawal?

Sixty per cent of deaths in critical care occur following withdrawal of treatment. Treatment withdrawal in critical care is associated with ethical issues that can make the process challenging. Good communication with all involved medical disciplines, families, and, where possible, patients is paramount.

How are intensive care nurses used to end of life care?

Background: End-of-life care following treatment withdrawal is a common phenomenon in intensive care. Less is known about nurses’ experiences of providing care for the dying patient and their family in this context, when compared to specialist palliative care.

Share this post