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Confidentiality 

Confidentiality
Chapter:
Confidentiality
Author(s):

Timothy W. Kirk

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199656097.003.0102
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date: 21 August 2018

This chapter offers an explanation of, and approach to, respecting confidentiality as an ethical obligation in the practice of hospice and palliative medicine. Understood in the context of coincident ethical obligations to maximize clinical benefit, avoid preventable harm, and restore moral agency, respecting confidentiality is embedded in the most basic philosophical precepts that define hospice and palliative care. As such, following a brief conceptual framework, the chapter explores ways to employ the framework in the service of patients and families in clinical practice. While various regions and nationalities will have legal and regulatory requirements informing the definition and practice of respecting confidentiality, this chapter focuses instead on respecting confidentiality as an ethical value. Readers are encouraged to supplement the content of this chapter with the relevant requirements that apply in their practice location.

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