Unit outcomes addressed in this Assignment:

  • Understand the process of clinical reasoning in the healthcare profession.
  • Evaluate moral action and its relevance to ethical decision-making in the healthcare Environment.
  • Analyze several perspectives of an ethical dilemma in a healthcare environment. 

Course outcomes addressed in this Assignment:

Analyze the effect ethics has on day-to-day operations as well as long-term policy and procedure in a healthcare environment. 


As you have learned, the population segment aged 65 and older is rapidly aging in the United States. As a result, new ethical challenges are emerging in the field, specifically in long-term care (i.e. skilled nursing facilities including those with post-surgical short-term rehabilitation services).

One area of concern is the challenge of providing adequate healthcare services to a growing (and aging) population with limited resources. This dilemma is expected to increase as the population continues to increase. As a result, the demand for medical services increases; however, with finite healthcare resources, providing services to everyone who requires care is not possible.

This will present a unique challenge for nursing home administrators because they are responsible to ensure that resident needs (including receiving healthcare services) are being met. Determining who should receive the necessary care that is available will be an interdisciplinary challenge indeed.

Scholars have posited a variety of allocation methods; however, these principles have not been without controversy. One of the most recent principles introduced is the Complete Lives System. This method is unique, because unlike its predecessors that relied on a unilateral perspective, the Complete Lives Systems takes a multi-allocation system approach.

In this unit, you will combine your previous knowledge obtained throughout the course and apply clinical reasoning to evaluate moral action and its relevance to ethical-decision making in long-term care. Using ethical decision-making, you will determine the best method of allocating limited medical resources to a growing and aging population. By the end of this unit, you will be able to analyze the effect ethics has on day-to-day operations as well as long-term policy and procedure in a healthcare environment.

Read the following articles from our library:

  • Krütli, P., Rosemann, T., Törnblom, K. Y., & Smieszek, T. (2016). How to fairly allocate scarce medical resources: Ethical argumentation under scrutiny by health professionals and lay people. Plos ONE, 11(7), 1-18. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0159086
  • Persad, G., Wertheimer, A., & Emanuel, E. J. (2009). Department of Ethics: Principles for allocation of scarce medical interventions. The Lancet373, 423-431. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(09)60137-9 

Please review the following resources and using specific information from these resources, your course materials, and additional research, address the tasks posed below.

Three individuals in town require a hip surgery, followed by extensive rehabilitative therapy. Physical and occupational therapy will be provided at the skilled nursing facility where the individual will reside until able to return home. Below are details of each individual.

  • Donna Mueller is a 58-year old disabled widow with no children. She spent her career as a homemaker and taking care of her husband. Donna requires surgery after falling at home while washing windows. Prior to the accident, Donna was relatively independent, although a stroke a few years prior left her partially paralyzed. She lives alone and has minimal company over.
  • Steve McDonald is 40-year old unemployed musician. He has a teenage son who lives with the son’s mother in a neighboring town. At the age of 19, Steve left college to pursue a career as a drummer. For the past two decades, Steve has worked odd jobs while pursuing his dream. Although his perseverance has not landed him national attention, he has performed with a few, known bands in the area. Recently, while exiting stage left from a nightclub performance, Steve tripped over the dark stairs and fractured his hip, ultimately leaving him unemployed as he is currently unable to perform.
  • Chris Snider is a 73-year old entrepreneur and business owner. Never married, Chris spent his career in the fast-pace, produce or perish industry of nanotechnology where he employs over 5,000 workers ranging from maintenance technicians to senior research engineers. Chris requires surgery after being innocently hit with a runaway golf cart on the back 9 with his visiting, foreign affiliates. Chris was completely independent prior to the accident. He lives alone; however, his business requires travel.

In a 5-7 page paper (excluding title page and reference list), address the following:

  • Considering the aging population and existing challenges, discuss the potential role of allocation principles in the American healthcare system.
  • Discuss the potential implications these principles have on the aging population (consider potential violations of federal antidiscrimination laws and ethical principles about fair treatment).
  • Based on the Complete Lives System, discuss which individual would most likely receive the surgery.
  • Based on your moral compass, ethical standards, and healthcare laws, discuss which individual you would recommend for surgery.
  • Recommend the one allocation principle you would prefer as the primary medical intervention for a growing (and aging) population.

Report your findings noting the following standards:

  • Current APA formatting (e.g. title page, citations, conclusion, reference page, etc.) should be used.
  • Proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation are expected.
  • Plagiarism, self-plagiarism, unoriginal work, and unattributed content is not permitted and will result in action pursuant to the University’s Plagiarism Policy and Procedures.
  • Cite at least 3-5 scholarly sources.

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