How decisions are made and communication is handled are essential to ensuring a good outcome.

In the case of Scardoni v Hawryluck,11 Mrs H was an 81-year-old woman with advanced Alzheimer disease, cardiovascular illness, and septic shock whose family and physician could not agree on goals for care, requiring that a legal decision be made regarding the level of care to be provided. Over time and after much discussion, the multidisciplinary team on the intensive care unit (ICU) reached a consensus that intensive care for Mrs H would not improve her condition. So it was decided that after Mrs H was stepped down to a general medical unit, should an infection or respiratory distress develop, she would not be returned to the ICU. The attending ICU physician informed the family that instead of ICU care, “the hospital would offer her palliative...

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