Medical Decision Making

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This section of the survey is designed to familiarize your organization with best practices, from The Joint Commission and other sources, related to medical decision making for LGBTQ patients. Unfortunately, healthcare organizations have sometimes failed to honor LGBTQ patients’ right to designate the person of their choice, including a same-sex partner, to make medical decisions on their behalf should they become incapacitated, even when legally valid medical decision-making documents have been presented. To prevent these failures, it’s important that employee trainings related to medical decision-making affirm that LGBTQ patients have the same rights in this regard as all other patients. As noted by CMS in 2011, regulations were designed to make it easier for family members, including same-sex partners, to make informed care decisions for incapacitated loved ones.

To receive credit in the HEI:

This subsection of the Patient Services and Support Criteria includes the final 3 of the 26 scored best practices.

Scored best practices include:

  • Facility explicitly informs patients of their right to designate any person of their choice, including an unmarried partner, as medical decision-maker
  • Staff training is provided specifically about medical decision making that includes LGBTQ-specific information
  • Facility has a policy or official practices related to the treatment of intersex children that delays medically unnecessary procedures until the patient is old enough to make an informed decision (new)

HEI Scored Questions