Can the family disagree with the critical care recommendations?

Deb Cordes
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

Yes, the family has the right to disagree with any form of medical recommendations. It is important to realize that when a loved one is hospitalized that it is a stressful time. During stressful times a family may not comprehend all the factors that go into medical recommendations.

It is critical that the family voice their concerns and ask pertinent questions of the medical staff. It is appropriate to ask as many questions regarding the recommendations until the family understands and feels comfortable with why and what is being recommended. If the family does not feel comfortable with the medical recommendations it is sometimes helpful to ask for a second opinion.

Tamla Wells
Critical Care Nursing
Yes, a family can disagree with critical care recommendations. One of the fundamental rights of all patients is the right to accept or refuse any treatment. It is important that patients and their families discuss the benefits and risks of any procedures and treatments with the doctor. Patients are free to obtain second opinions from other doctors and specialists. Ultimately, patients and their families make their own individualized decision about treatment, even if that decision conflicts with the doctor’s recommendations. And as medical professionals, we respect that patient’s decision. 
Yes, the family can disagree with the recommendations of the critical care specialist. If this occurs it is important to have a conversation with the specialist to address the family's concerns and the specialist's recommendations so that everyone understands the recommendations and the consequences of not following them as well as the family's wants and expectations.

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