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This entry was published on 2014-09-22
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Palliative care patient information
Public Health (PBH) CHAPTER 45, ARTICLE 29-D, TITLE 1
§ 2997-c. Palliative care patient information. 1. Definitions. As used
in this section, the following terms shall have the following meanings,
unless the context clearly requires otherwise:

(a) "Appropriate" means consistent with applicable legal, health and
professional standards; the patient's clinical and other circumstances;
and the patient's reasonably known wishes and beliefs.

(b) "Attending health care practitioner" means a physician or nurse
practitioner who has primary responsibility for the care and treatment
of the patient. Where more than one physician or nurse practitioner
share that responsibility, each of them has responsibility under this
section, unless they agree to assign that responsibility to one of them.

(c) "Palliative care" means health care treatment, including
interdisciplinary end-of-life care, and consultation with patients and
family members, to prevent or relieve pain and suffering and to enhance
the patient's quality of life, including hospice care under article
forty of this chapter.

(d) "Terminal illness or condition" means an illness or condition
which can reasonably be expected to cause death within six months,
whether or not treatment is provided.

2. If a patient is diagnosed with a terminal illness or condition, the
patient's attending health care practitioner shall offer to provide the
patient with:

(a) information and counseling regarding palliative care and
end-of-life options appropriate to the patient, including but not
limited to: the range of options appropriate to the patient; the
prognosis, risks and benefits of the various options; and the patient's
legal rights to comprehensive pain and symptom management at the end of
life, and

(b) information regarding other appropriate treatment options should
the patient wish to initiate or continue treatment. The information and
counseling may be provided orally or in writing. Where the patient lacks
capacity to reasonably understand and make informed choices relating to
palliative care, the attending health care practitioner shall provide
information and counseling under this section to a person with authority
to make health care decisions for the patient. The attending health care
practitioner may arrange for information and counseling under this
section to be provided by another professionally qualified individual.

3. Where the attending health care practitioner is not willing or does
not feel qualified to provide the patient with information and
counseling under this section, he or she shall arrange for another
physician or nurse practitioner to do so, or shall refer or transfer the
patient to another physician or nurse practitioner willing to do so.