NUR222 Health Law and Ethics
Health professionals are required to communicate through a wide range of mediums to a diverse audience. The goal of this task is to apply your knowledge and understanding of legal and ethical principles in assessing and presenting a case study to an audience.
Case study for Nursing students
Victoria is a 67-year-old woman of Polish descent. She moved to Australia approximately 25 years ago with her family. Her husband died 10 years ago, and she has regular contact with her 4 children who are now adults raising their families.
Approximately 3 weeks ago Victoria began to behave in an unusual manner, wandering through her house at night, refusing to eat and convinced that there were cameras inside the television that were monitoring her movements. Following a referral from the GP, the community mental health services team assessed her at home and deemed it necessary to admit her for further assessment within an acute mental health inpatient hospital setting.
She has been in the ward for approximately 4 days and is receiving care as a voluntary consumer. During this time she has been isolated, withdrawn and appears frightened of events and interactions around her. Although she has been generally cooperative with staff, this morning she appears to be non-compliant with staff requests to take her medication that consists of a small dose of an antipsychotic and her regular antihypertensive medication. When staff gently request that she take her tablets she begins to lash out, thrashing and physically hitting the nurses; yelling that they are trying to hurt her and take her money.
Due to the risk of Victoria’s behaviour on her physical safety and the safety of others, it is decided that her legal status should be reviewed under the Mental Health Act and that she should receive intramuscular sedation.
Before Victoria is reviewed, a phone order of medication is given to administer a sedative. The team leader directs that the sedation be given without Victoria’s consent due to the possible risk of her hurting herself and others. This directive is completed. During this time the process is noisy and disruptive to the ward and one nurse sustains a laceration to her arm while trying to restrain Victoria. Other patients are visibly upset by this action and one mentions that it is barbaric and they are going to report the nursing staff to the NMBA.
Your focus should be on the ethical and legal requirements discussed throughout this course. Pay attention to workplace health and safety, legal and ethical requirements, law surrounding decision making and consent. Using the legal and ethical decision-making framework identify and justify the care that will be provided to Victoria. What are your legal and ethical responsibilities and what professional standards and codes need to be considered?