The Importance of Code of Ethics in Healthcare

Healthcare workers have an enormous amount of responsibility. They must care for their patients and do the right thing, and sometimes these goals seem to conflict. Fortunately, the Code of Ethics in Healthcare can guide providers’ decisions, so everyone receives fair and high-quality care.


What Is the Code of Ethics in Healthcare?

The National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) adopted an official Code of Ethics in 1982. This code helps to govern the home healthcare industry and includes:

  • Patient Rights and Responsibilities
  • Relationships to Other Provider Agencies
  • Responsibility to the National Association for Home Care
  • Fiscal Responsibilities
  • Marketing and Public Relations
  • Personnel
  • Violations
  • Hearing Process


How Does the Code of Ethics in Healthcare Apply to Everyday Situations?

Reading through the entire Code of Ethics can feel a bit overwhelming. Plus, some of the rules and regulations apply more to agencies than individuals. Nevertheless, these guidelines do help providers deliver and patients receive better care. Here are two possible scenarios:

  • Situation #1 – A Patient Wants to Stop Taking Their Medication

    According to the Code of Ethics, “The patient has the right to refuse treatment within the confines of the law and to be informed of the consequences of his action.” As a result, even if a healthcare provider believes their client is making the wrong choice, they must respect those wishes. However, the provider also has a responsibility to inform individuals of the impact of their decisions. So, let’s say a cancer patient asks to stop taking their medicine because it is giving them unpleasant side effects. The healthcare provider needs to clearly explain what could happen as well as to suggest possible alternatives. For instance, a doctor may be able to prescribe a similar medication that has few negative effects.


  • Situation #2 – An HHA Realizes a Client Needs More Robust Care

    Although no one wants to be out of a job, “The principal objective of home care and hospice agencies is to provide the best possible service to patients.” Therefore, the Code of Ethics states, “Agencies shall honestly and conscientiously cooperate in providing information about referrals and shall work together to assure comprehensive services to patients and their families.” In other words, sometimes a provider or agency will realize they can’t offer the level of care a client needs. For example, an older person with dementia may be difficult to supervise in a one-on-one setting. Or a seriously ill patient may require more advanced medical intervention than is possible in their own home. In both these cases, it is the provider’s responsibility to recommend alternate care that is safer and more appropriate.


Are You Committed to More Ethical Healthcare?

Anodyne Services places and hires talented caregivers, HHAs, and CNAs in Quincy, Massachusetts, and beyond. As a leading home care agency in Eastern Massachusetts, Anodyne is guided by a tradition of professional, ethical, and respectful services. Learn more about the benefits of working with us today!