Ethics Encyclopedia

These literature reviews showcase ethical challenges and policy issues. They are not meant to advocate for any position.

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Advance Care Planning
Advance Care Planning (ACP) is “a process that involves preparing for future medical decisions in the hypothetical event that individuals are no longer able to speak for themselves when those decisions need to be made” (Levi and Green 4). ACP includes contemplating one’s values and preferences and communicating those preferences to others. The ACP process often culminates in the creation of an...

Artificial Nutrition and Hydration
Artificial nutrition and hydration (ANH) is a medical treatment that supplements or replaces ordinary eating and drinking. ANH is used for individuals who for some reason cannot eat or drink enough to sustain life. Since ANH is defined as a medical treatment, competent adults may refuse...

Medical Informed Consent
Informed consent is the process by which patients are educated about the elements of a medical choice and/or procedure and then make an informed, knowledgeable, and voluntary decision about the health care they are to receive (or refuse).

Patient / Surrogate Decision-Making
The Patient Self-Determination Act was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1990. This law makes it clear that patients have the right to make decisions regarding their medical care. It also guarantees patients the right to designate a surrogate (another person) to make treatment decisions for them if they become unable to make their own decisions.