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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Patricia A. Marshall, PhD (Loyola University Medical Center)
Description: This book provides a guide to the development and implementation of advance directives for health care. Considerable attention is given to legal issues.
Purpose: The author aims to explore the historical and moral foundations, legal framework, format, content, administration, and enforcement of advance directives for health care. The book provides basic information on the types of advance directives available and their strengths and weaknesses and offers suggestions for choosing among them.
Audience: The intended audience includes physicians, nurses, hospital social workers, clergy, health care administrators, and others concerned about executing advance directives for controlling medical interventions when patients are no longer competent. It is a practical and readable guide. These features should make it accessible to a wide-ranging audience, including health professionals and the general public.
Features: Four appendixes contain forms for advance directives, including the Advance Directive for Health Care, Health Care Power of Attorney, the New Jersey's Commission's Combined Advance Directive for Health Care, and the Values Profile. Comprehensive and thorough notes and references for each chapter are contained at the end of the book. The references are up-to-date. Citations for legal cases are extensive. The index is easy to use and inclusive.
Assessment: This book is an excellent resource for anyone interested in learning about advance directives for health care. The legal background of the author is reflected in the book's emphasis on the contractual nature of the patient-physician relationship and litigation related to advance directives. Thus, the author's treatment of broader moral and social issues surrounding advance directives tends to be constrained by legalistic parameters.