Health Law And Ethics


Nurses and midwives 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.


A fifteen-minute (15) audio presentation with a 3-page written summary, both to be uploaded to Blackboard by participating students.


You will work in pairs and will prepare an audio presentation using the example available on Blackboard as a guide. The audio presentation will be fifteen minutes long and will address legal and ethical principles related to a provided case study. Both members of the group will be involved in the production and delivery of the audio presentation and written summary. You are to present the audio presentation as a media report (like the Health Report example provided). You will also prepare a 3- page written summary of the selected case. The report and the written summary need to consider and draw on sources of relevant legal and ethical theory, professional codes, standards and guidelines. You need to discuss the application of principles to clinical practice and make conclusions based on your analysis of the case


Peter Smith is 82 years old and has lived on the Sunshine Coast in Palmwoods all his life. He worked on a farm and was married to Betty for 60 years. Betty passed away 2 years ago and 1 year ago Peter moved into Sunny Hills Aged Care where he lives in a one bedroom, onebathroom unit. He was diagnosed with early onset dementia 12 months ago. His short-term

memory is poor, and he has ‘good days’ and ‘bad days’ where he requires more prompting and reminding about tasks and activities. He is able to dress and feed himself and is normally complacent and calm. He is usually happy to listen to music, watch TV in the common room or participate in some of the activities held at Sunny Hills. Mary, his daughter, takes him out every weekend to spend time with the family. She works full time as an administrative assistant at the local council.

Peter completed an Advance Health Directive (AHD) 18 months ago which he discussed with his daughter. His GP and lawyer signed this and a copy of this is kept by the nursing home, his lawyer, doctor and Mary. Michael, Peter’s son, lives in Western Australia. He is aware that his dad, Peter has an AHD but he has not visited his dad since his mother passed away. Peter stated in the Advance Health Directive that he does not want active treatment if he is brought into the hospital. Mary holds the Power of Attorney for all health and financial needs for her father.

Presenting case

Peter has been brought into the emergency department (ED) at 6am, with confusion, agitation and aggression which commenced overnight. The enrolled nurse (EN) at Sunny Hills filled in the transfer form identifying his past medical history of atrial fibrillation (AF), which has been controlled with digoxin 62.5mcg x 2 daily for the past 20 years. He also takes a blood thinner Xarelto 15mg daily and no other medication. His AF is usually well controlled.

Peter was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection (UTI) 2 days ago and was commenced on oral antibiotics (Trimethoprim). A urine specimen was sent for microbial culture and sensitivity (MC&S) but the results have not been received by Sunny Hills yet. His vital signs this morning prior to transfer to the ED were; BP 145/85. P. 80, resp. (when not agitated) 15, temperature 38.5C. Mary has been contacted by the nursing home to meet him at the hospital.

Mary arrives and is shocked by her father’s condition. She tells the nursing staff that her father has an Advance Health Directive, but she is very upset by his state of confusion and aggression. He is seeing insects crawling on his bed clothes. He is currently trying to take off his clothes and get out of the bed. He is aggressive towards the staff.

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, issues with restraint and law surrounding decision making and consent. Using the legal and ethical decision-making framework identify and justify the care that will be provided to Peter. What are your legal and ethical responsibilities and what professional standards and codes need to be considered?