End-of-life Health Care Decisions

  • Overview

Write an article for a community newsletter for a local retirement village that explains the laws, policies, and choices surrounding end-of-life health care decisions.

By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:

  • Competency 1: Explain the effect of health care policies, legislation, and legal issues on health care delivery and patient outcomes.
  • Identify the primary policies that define current health care practices in regard to end-of-life health care decisions.
  • Explain the legislation that generated end-of-life health care policies.
  • Competency 2: Explain the effect of regulatory environments and controls on health care delivery and patient outcomes.
  • Explain the effect of end-of-life regulations and controls on patient outcomes.
  • Competency 3: Apply professional nursing ethical standards and principles to the decision-making process.
  • Describe the role of the nurse in end-of-life decision making with patients and their families.
  • Describe the ethical considerations that have influenced policy decisions in regard to end-of-life decisions.
  • Competency 4: Communicate in a manner that is consistent with expectations of nursing professionals.
  • Write content clearly and logically, with correct use of grammar, punctuation, and mechanics.
  • Correctly format citations and references using APA style.


Nurses are at the bedside during the dying process; they spend entire shifts with patients and families; they develop trusting relationships, and they are competent to assess patient and family needs. Nurses gain a unique perspective that allows them to become aware when a patient is not responding to treatment. This perspective places nurses in a position to facilitate end-of-life decision making. (Adams, Bailey. Anderson, & Docherty, 2011, para. 4)


Adams, J. A., Bailey, D. E., Jr., Anderson, R. A., & Docherty, S. L. (2011). Nursing roles and strategies in end-of-life decision making in acute care: A systematic review of the literature. Nursing Research and Practice, 2011.

Questions to consider

To deepen your understanding, you are encouraged to consider the questions below and discuss them with a fellow learner, a work associate, an interested friend, or a member of your professional community.

  • How should nurses manage patients whose end-of-life decisions may run contrary to their personal beliefs and values?
  • How can nurses influence new policies, laws, or legislation regarding end-of life decisions?
  • What are some of the most difficult decisions patients and families have to make at the end of the patient’s life?
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