Ethical issues in discharge planning for vulnerable infants and children

Ethics and Behavior 5 (1):1 – 13 (1995)

Abstract

Discharge planning for vulnerable infants and children is a collaborative, inter-disciplinary, decision-making activity that is grounded in the ethical complexities of clinical practice. Although it is a psychosocial intervention that frequently causes moral distress for professionals and has the potential to inflict harm on children and their families, the process has received little attention from ethicists. An ongoing study of the transition of technology-dependent children from hospital to home suggests that the ethical issues embedded in the discharge-planning process may be concealed by dominant cultural values, institutional policies, clinical standards, historical precedents, and legal regulations.

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