Department of health and human services changes: implications for hospital social workers.
ABSTRACT In April 2010, President Obama issued a directive to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding patient visitation, advance directives, and other initiatives to improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families. The HHS response to this directive has implications for hospital social workers. The purpose of this secondary data analysis was to explore indicators of social work readiness to support implementation of the resulting initiatives. A historical context for the changes is provided, inclusive of the cases that spurred the presidential memorandum. The findings are presented within the framework of the profession's standards for social work practice in health care and end-of-life care. Recommendations for enhancing social work readiness for a critical role in implementation of the new regulations are presented.
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ABSTRACT: This article addresses the timely and ethically problematic issue of surrogate decision-making rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) patients and their families in the American health care system. Despite multiple pro-LGBT recommendations that have been released in recent years by the Obama administration, the Institute of Medicine, and the US Department of Health and Human Services, such initiatives, while laudable, also have unfortunately occasioned a "false sense of security" for many LGBT patients, their families, and their caregivers. In particular, new regulations on surrogate decision making merely invoke a sense of universal patient rights rather than actually generating them. Therefore, it is imperative that primary care physicians urge all LGBT patients to take proactive steps to protect themselves and their loved ones by naming proxy decision makers well before the crises that would necessitate such decisions.The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine 11/2013; 26(6):802-4. DOI:10.3122/jabfm.2013.06.130130 · 1.85 Impact Factor