If the patient continues to refuse, it may be necessary in some cases to seek legal and professional advice.
Regardless, you cannot force treatment on a patient or provide them medication covertly.
In the case of young children, parents have the right to determine the course of treatment and the right to refuse treatment on behalf of the child.
However, nurses should consider the best interests of the patient, rather than the parents, and therefore discussions around care decisions need to be detailed and sensitive in nature.
Information contained on the website is not intended as a substitute for professional consultation, and is subject to copyright.
Learning objectives By the end of this chapter you should be able to: - Identify common ethical dilemmas in nursing practice.This would be unethical and can constitute an act of harm or assault, which may have severe legal and professional repercussions.You should always engage patients in an open discussion about treatment options and act ethically to prevent risk to your own professional status.In this situation, nursing staff and medical staff may have a clear opinion of the need to intervene, but the patient disagrees with the course of action.This may include life-saving surgery, medication use, or other interventions that will directly prevent serious harm to the patient.For example, parents may refuse certain treatments or object to a prescribed treatment course.The parents may feel that alternative options are better or that further treatment or interventions may be too painful or distressing for the child.The Ethics in Medicine website is an educational resource designed for clinicians in training.The website is hosted and maintained by the Department of Bioethics & Humanities at the University of Washington School of Medicine.However, you should ensure that the risks are clear.Patients may refuse to receive treatment that will save their life.