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Keywords:

  • ethical principles;
  • health care;
  • nursing care;
  • theoretical models;
  • quality

Quality in health care and ethical principles

The last three decades have seen rapid changes in the way United States of America (USA) health care has been delivered, financed and regulated. Four major stakeholders have emerged in the health care debate: patients, providers, payers and public regulatory agencies. These groups do not agree on a definition of quality health care. This paper suggests five ethical principles — autonomy, justice, beneficence, non-maleficence, and prudence — be included in the framework of quality health care. A framework that outlines possible relationships among these ethical attributes and four major stakeholders is presented.