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Law is the result of the minimum level of shared values or ethics of a community of people. Law and ethics are related. Nurses may act in ways that are legal but not ethical. Both law and ethics are related to politics. Law means a body of rules to guide human action
Laws are “rules of conduct, establishedand enforced by authority, whichprohibit extremes in behaviour so thatone can live without fear for oneself orone’s property”. - By Sullivan and Decker, 2001
1. Intentional torts Assault Battery Invasion of Privacy Defamation of character 2. Unintentional torts Malpractice Negligence
Importance of Law to the Nurse: Nurses have more responsibility Increased numbers of Advanced Practice Nurses Law is there to assist in the decision-making process involved in nursing practice Law is there for the protection of nursing practice Law is there for the identification of the risk of liability
1. Signatures Are Golden2. Documentation3. Report It or Tort It4. Rights to Privacy5. You’re doing WHAT?
ConsentCapacityAdvance directivesBlood sample or toxic substances screen
Failure to use equipment in a responsible manner.Failure to assess and monitor and failure to communicate .Failure to document .Failure to act as a patient advocate
Delegation.Early discharge .Nursing shortage.Advances in technology .Increased autonomy and responsibility.Better-informed consumers .Expanded legal definitions of liability.
HIPAA(Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) -HIPAA defines numerous offenses relating to health care and sets civil and criminal penalties for them. It also creates several programs to control fraud and abuse within the health care system.
EMTALA (Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act ) –patients treated under EMTALA may not be able to pay or have insurance or other programs pay for the associated costs, they are legally responsible for any costs incurred as a result of their care under civil law.Patients whose advance intention it is to receive medical care and fail to pay cannot be held criminally liable unless they intentionally and knowingly provide false identifying information to dodge billing.[
Electronichealth record - An electronic health record (EHR) is an evolving concept defined as a systematic collection of electronic health information about individual patients or populations. Failure or damages caused during installation or utilization of an EHR system has been feared as a threat in lawsuits . Similarly, its important to recog-nize that the implementation of electronic health records carries with it significant legal risks.
Information for patients Choice of providers and plans Access to emergency services Taking part in treatment decisions Respect and non-discrimination Confidentiality (privacy) of health information Complaints and appeals Consumer responsibilities
Provider of Service Ensure that client receives competent, safe, & holistic care Render care by “standards of reasonable, prudent person” Supervise/evaluate that which has been delegated Documentation of care Maintain clinical competency
A number of legal issues are related tonursing practice, including licensing, nursepractice acts, and standards of care. However,in these litigious times, the issue that mostconcerns those considering a career in nursingare negligence and malpractice.