Patient autonomy is preserved through the use of advance directives. A living will defines treatment by establishing parameters under which patients want to be treated. A durable power of attorney for health care establishes a surrogate for patients if they are unable to make decisions for themselves. In the perioperative setting, advance directives are applied with significant variation between surgeons, likely due to surgeons implying from informed consent discussions that patients want to pursue aggressive treatment. Futility is a rare occurrence in patient care that is difficult to define; however, there are some classic surgical conditions in which futility is part of the decision process.
- Advance directives
- Do not resuscitate
- Durable power of attorney for health care
- Living will
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