Understanding law in clinical practice: theory or reality?

Debra Lee Griffiths

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


How do nursing and medical staff working in acute care environments deal with patients who decide to decline medical treatment? To understand current practices and investigate their sufficiency in addressing patient wishes, a qualitative study was undertaken in two public hospitals in Melbourne, Victoria. The aim was to ascertain how nurses and medical practitioners actually manage patients decisions to refuse active treatment. In light of the existing legislative provisions, the study highlighted numerous responses, including areas that may limit patient autonomy and the subsequent right to self-determination in the acute care environment. This column concentrates on one facet of the findings relating to the participants knowledge of the law and the recording of decisions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)728 - 733
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Law and Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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