Glossary of Patient Relations Terms

Advance Directives: a (legal) document that allows a patient to appoint another individual to make health care decisions for the patient in the event of incapacitation; the patient specifies in the document the course of treatment he or she would like followed in the event of incapacitation. (compare with: POLST)

Beneficence: doing or producing good; performing acts of a charitable nature; acting with kindness

Cultural Competence: the recognition and understanding of differences in perception and belief based on culture; and the implementation of advocacy standards that incorporate the allowance for cultural differences.

DNI: Do Not Intubate; an acronym used on POLST and other forms directing a care provider to not establish an artificial airway upon respiratory arrest.

DNR: Do Not Resuscitate; an acronym used on POLST and other forms directing a care provider to stop all life support upon clinical death.

Justice: the determination of patient rights in accordance with the rules of law.

Non-denominational: lacking association with a particular religion or creed.

Non-maleficence: within the context of patient advocacy, acting to avoid the infliction of additional harm on the patient.

Ombudsman: an individual empowered to investigate patient complaints, with the authority to work to resolve complaints in a fair and principled manner.

Palliative Care: the provision of relief from suffering (to a terminally-ill patient) through symptom and pain management, with the objective being to provide comfort and maintain the highest quality of life until the patient expires.

Patient Autonomy: the allowance for patients to be self-governing and morally independent.

POLST: Physician's Orders for Life–Sustaining Treatment; completed by a physician after learning of your end-of-life wishes. The form acts as executable orders which will be followed by personnel involved in your care. (compare with: Advance Directives)

Spiritual Comfort: the provision of comfort measures that address the patient's personal beliefs.