Nursing Homes Can Deny Your Wishes
New York Newsday (02/26/02) Vol. 16, No. 2 p.B18; De Simone, Marcella

While most experts would suggest a nursing home as a last-resort option, nursing homes have the experience to provide dignified end-of-life care. But families with dying relatives who have decided to refuse artificial life-sustaining treatment are finding that their loved ones--despite their wishes--were hooked up to feeding tubes and IVs in nursing homes anyway. Some 40 percent of New York City's nursing homes, for instance, may deny end-of-life wishes, prolonging the suffering of many patients and their families, according to the New York-based Friends and Relatives of the Institutionalized Aged (FRIA), an advocate for nursing home residents. If nursing homes have what is called "conscience policies," FRIA explains, which are based on religious beliefs or moral convictions, then New York law permits them to reject patients' wishes.

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