Medical Orders For Life Sustaining Treatment Essay example

Medical Orders For Life Sustaining Treatment Essay example

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A July 8, 2015 headline in the New York Times stated, “Medicare plans to pay doctors for counseling on end of life” (Belluck, 2015). Currently doctors who have such discussions must work them into other appointments, and when physicians see patients every fifteen minutes, finding time to have this sensitive conversation is nearly impossible (Greene, 2015). New York, among a few other states, has developed a form titled Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) to assist physicians and other healthcare professionals have end-of-life conversations so patients can make their wishes known before they are incapacitated in some way and unable to do so. Copies of the form are then filed with the state and regularly reviewed by a patient’s physician to assure continued compliance (New York State Department of Health, 2012). While the form has been approved by the New York State Department of Health for use with minors and adults and by the Office of Mental Health (OMH) and the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) (New York State Department of Health, 2012), there is no indication that it has been evaluated for issues surrounding ethnic, racial, or cultural sensitivity. Nor is it available in any languages other than English and Spanish. The premise of this paper is that all people in the United States are entitled to make their end-of-life wishes known to their healthcare providers, and they should be able to do so based on their particular cultural norms, even if such norms don’t seem “normal” to others who do not share the same cultural heritage. This paper will examine the rationale for evaluating and modifying these forms; the stakeholders involved in such actions; the desired outcome and action steps r...


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... are to remain true to our professional code of ethics, particularly as outlined in section 6.04, which notes, “Social workers should act to expand choice and opportunity for all people, with special regard for vulnerable, disadvantaged, oppressed, and exploited people and groups” (NASW, 2008). Perhaps helping underrepresented people to be certain that their wishes for end-of-life care are followed is not the most glamorous aspect of social work, but, as I have learned in my field placement at a hospice agency, a person’s death is the last memory they leave of themselves with their families. Making sure that memory isn’t tainted by unwanted or unnecessary medical procedures, but instead follows cultural traditions and norms is a way for social workers to honor and contribute to the legacy their clients wish to leave. And there can be no greater privilege than that.

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