Complex hospital discharges: justice considered.
HEC Forum. 2014 Mar;26(1):69-78
Authors: Schlairet MC
How do we respond to the patient who no longer needs inpatient care but refuses to leave the hospital? Complex hospital discharges commonly involve consideration of legal, financial, clinical, and practical issues. Yet, the ethical and contextual issues embedded in complex inpatient discharges are of concern and have not received adequate attention by medical ethicists. The aim of this work is to encourage clinicians and administrators to incorporate a justice rubric when approaching inpatient discharge dilemmas. This paper presents justice as the ethical principle most neglected in situations involving complex discharges and suggests that a justice focused lens allows clinicians and administrators to move beyond notions of patient autonomy in crafting morally responsible hospital discharge decisions that reflect efficient stewardship of an appropriate share of medically indicated services. This issue deserves additional attention from medical ethicists in the future.
PMID: 23912604 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]