Low Acuity, Palliative Care & End-of Life Decisions

As paramedics you will be involved in circumstances where you are confronted by end-of-life or palliative care decisions and the care of the person and significant others (family / friends) may be challenging and complex. The aim of this assignment is to explore the ethical and legal issues involved in either end-of-life / palliative care or low acuity (treat – non-transport) cases. These cases involve complex decision making due to situational and emotional factors and the clinical follow-up that may be required. The assignment asks you to identify a case that you have attended as a foundation to discuss legal and ethical issues such as;

when to start or cease cardiopulmonary resuscitation,
the role of advanced care planning,
was it safe to leave the person at home,
what resources and follow-up clinical assessment and care is required,
assessment and diagnosis might not be as straight forward it first appears,
AND what this means to your practice.
The ethical principles of justice, autonomy, beneficence (benefit) and non-maleficence (do no harm) are important to maintaining your own professional practice and the dignity and care of those you care for. Managing the emotional and ethical challenges in these types of cases can be difficult and can affect your own wellbeing and practice as a paramedic.


Critical reflection skills.
Demonstrate an understanding of how decisions and actions by health professionals effect the patients dignity, ability to consent to care or express their own wishes and the implications for significant others in that person’s life.
Demonstrate knowledge of the legal responsibilities involved in palliative, end-of-life and low acuity cases.
Identify the ethical principles involved in palliative, end-of-life and low acuity cases.

Choose a case that you have attended which involves either:

End-of-life / Palliative care

Low acuity / Treat – non-transport Decisions
Answer the following questions in relation to the case that you have chosen


Briefly outline the case that you have chosen.
o Outline the key features of the case in the introduction.

(5 marks) (250 words)

Answer the following questions:

o The following questions target the legal and ethical issues of the case you have outlined and your critical reflection on how the case was managed.

o Support with reference to literature and evidence.


Identify and discuss at least two legal considerations in the case.
o Provide reference to legal documents, guidelines or other articles/texts that discuss legal issues in regards to non-transport or end-of-life decisions.

(10 Marks) (250 words)

Identify and discuss at least two ethical considerations in the case
o Provide reference to peer reviewed articles that discuss ethical issues in regards to non-transport, palliative care and end-of-life decisions.

o Refer to the ethical principles of justice, autonomy, beneficence and non-maleficence

(15 Marks) (350 words)

Reflect on the case and how it was managed. Consider one positive and one negative aspect of the case and
provide rationale for why you considered it either a positive or negative experience.

Think about:

o how you felt about what occurred,

o was it managed well and why,

o how could it have been improved,

o was the communication between the paramedics and those involved adequate,

o what resources were available,

o who could have been contacted – included in the decision making

(20 marks) (400 words)

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