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The deteriorating patient representative on a palliative care quality committee: Ethical and practical considerations

  • Peter Eastman (a1) and Brian Le (a2)

This case study describes the involvement of a patient representative on a palliative care committee and outlines some of the issues that arose as her health deteriorated. A summary of the increasing involvement of patient representation within health care governance is provided, and some of the challenges raised by the case, many of which may be relatively unique to palliative care, are discussed. It is hoped that presentation of this fairly novel scenario provides other palliative care providers with the opportunity to consider their own processes and practices around managing a similar situation should it occur in their healthcare setting.

Corresponding author
Author for correspondence: Peter Eastman, Barwon Health Palliative Care Department, Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre and Melbourne Health, School of Medicine Deakin University, North Geelong, 45-95 Ballarat Road, North Geelong VIC 3215Australia. Email:
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Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (2017) National safety and quality health service standards. 2nd ed. Sydney: ACSQHC.
Consumer Health Forum of Australia (2015) “Unique and essential”: A review of the role of consumer representatives in health decision-making [Internet]. Deakin ACT: Consumer Health Forum of Australia. Available from:
Martin, GP and Finn, R (2011) Patients as team members: Opportunities, challenges and paradoxes of including patients in multi-professional healthcare teams. Sociology of Health & Illness 33, 10501065.
Murray, Z (2015) Community representation in hospital decision making: A literature review. Australian Health Review 6, 323328.
Nathan, S, Johnston, L, Braithwaite, J (2011) The role of community representatives on health service committees: Staff expectations vs. reality. Health Expectations 14, 272284.
O'shea, A, Chambers, M, Boaz, A (2017) Whose voices? Patient and public involvement in clinical commissioning. Health Expectations 20, 484494.
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Palliative & Supportive Care
  • ISSN: 1478-9515
  • EISSN: 1478-9523
  • URL: /core/journals/palliative-and-supportive-care
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