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HealthCenter21: Legal and Ethical Responsibilities

This module provides students with the knowledge to make sound decisions when faced with workplace situations involving The Patient's Bill of Rights, Scope of Practice, tort law, contract law, confidentiality and privileged communication, and ethics. Students examine scenarios and consider the legal implications, and research a current bioethical issue.

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The Legal and Ethical Responsibilities module is designed according to the AES course framework, which includes four phases:

  1. Explore
  2. Learn & Practice
  3. Reflect
  4. Reinforce

Below you'll discover how AES can help you teach your students about legal and ethical responsibilities according to these four phases.

Phase 1: Explore 


Activity: Confidentiality Role Play

In this activity, students will explore the topic of confidentiality using a role-playing scenario involving two health care workers.

Phase 2: Learn & Practice


Unit 1: Civil and Criminal Law

In this unit, students will learn about: the differences between criminal and civil law and how each affects health care practice. They learn about scopes of practice, torts, and implied and expressed contracts. 

  1. Criminal Law 
  2. Civil Law and Torts 
  3. Civil Law and Contracts 
  4. Quiz

Unit 2: Privacy and Security

In this unit, students will learn about: confidentiality as they define privileged communication and apply it to private health information and medical records. They learn about security issues related to new technologies and how to avoid breaching confidentiality in communication and documentation. 

  1. Introduction to HIPAA 
  2. Privileged Communication 
  3. Medical Records 
  4. Technology 
  5. Quiz

Unit 3: Advance Directives and Client Rights

In this unit, students will learn about: patients rights, advance directives, living wills, and durable power of attorney. They will learn to distinguish between human, civil, and client rights and Patient's and Residents' Bills of Rights. 

  1. Advance Directives 
  2. Client Rights 
  3. Quiz

Unit 4: Liability and Ethics

In this unit, students will learn about: personal, supervisory, and employer liabilities and explain risk management strategies. They will learn about laws, ethics, and morals and the code of ethics that health care workers must follow then research an ethical dilemma and state their own positions. 

  1. Reducing Liability 
  2. Ethics 
  3. Ethical Dilemmas 
  4. Quiz

Unit 5: Workplace Law

In this unit, students will learn about: workplace laws for job-seekers and employees, equal opportunity employment, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, workplace safety, organizations that monitor safety, and workers' compensation. 

  1. Discrimination 
  2. Wages, Benefits, and Leave 
  3. Safety 
  4. Quiz

Phase 3: Reflect


Activity: Reflection Questions and Discussion

In this activity, students will journal about: legal responsibilities, limitations, and implications of actions in health care occupations; maintaining confidentiality; the difference between morality and ethics; and the Patient's Bill of Rights. A class discussion can follow.

Phase 4: Reinforce


Activity: Advanced Directives (Create a Living Will)

In this activity, students investigate advance directives by completing a Living Will, including designating a power of attorney.

Activity: Ethics Debate

In this activity, students research an ethical issue and then write a brief position statement. Following this they can debate the topic per a modified Lincoln-Douglas debate format.

Activity: Code of Ethics

In this activity, students compare published professional code of ethics materials from various sources. Students can complete this activity individually or in small groups.

Activity: Scope of Practice

In this activity, students compare published professional scope of practice materials from various sources. Students can complete this activity individually or in small groups.

Activity: Current Event

Students will review articles for information related to a topic in the module. Once an article is found, students complete a Current Event form.

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