Create an enforceable contract in any department of a health care organization. How can a contract be legally valid? When is a contract voidable? What happens when one of the parties cannot perform the obligations written in the contract?
The long-term care industry implements a great deal of ethical applications, that are derived from state and federal regulations. For-profit organizations incorporate “care bylaws” into policies and procedures and any changes are generally related to the workforce via addendums within the organizational personnel employee handbook. Interestingly, regarding the long-term care industry, specific laws governing the ethical care of residents becomes enacted through federal and state mandates, such laws, applications to improve both principles, beneficence and nonmaleficence are to a vast degree enforced by federal and state agencies and must be followed by the individual long-term care facilities; furthermore, long-term care organizations cannot change such laws, policies, and procedures. Yet, the federal and state agencies can and do change these laws according to statistical incidence such as falls rates, medication errors, and reluctance to comply pertaining to yearly facility inspections. Another poignant and specific difference relates to appointment vs. election. Miller (2006) cites, “health care entities ultimate responsibility centers on establishing ethical goals and moral polices, select the chief executive, and appoint medical staff members” (p.30). With this said, regarding the long-term care industry, a specific and mandatory reason for an organization to be interesting in ethical applications of care would center on state and federal compliance. This in itself would fall under an economic reason; along with this, the bottom line for the organization to operate would be to institute such ethical policies in order to become and maintain eligibility for Medicare and Medicaid funding.
Beauchamp and Childress (2009) suggest that health care organizations and their quality of life perceptions are intertwined within ever changing and emerging platforms of ethical applications that are based on moral motivation. Therefore, long-term care organizations are constantly evaluating and revaluating quality of life principles that are based on moral motivation. The morals intertwined within caring for individuals, specifically the elderly have taken on a distinct set of relationships that are emergent upon nonmaleficence and the principles of respect for individual autonomy and justice. Long term care organizations are interested in being ethical in terms of their commitment to caring for the elderly, their disease progressions, and end of life aspects because the definition of care centers on the moral staple, not to inflict harm. The opposite would be negligence and is classified as the absence of care, a departure from professional standards that determine specific and due care (Beauchamp & Childress, 2009). It is important to note that malpractice law suits include one common entity called “duty,” meaning caregivers have a duty to take care of their patients in two specific areas, quality of care and quality of life aspects. Both of these areas must be proven to be deficient, yet the deficiency does not always need to be intentional, thus a lack of intent to harm does not relieve the caregiver from their duty to care for their patients.
Beauchamp, T. & Childress, J. (2009). Principles of biomedical ethics. (6th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.
Miller, R. D. (2006). Problems in health care law. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
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