What three prerequisites should children meet before they are deemed “competent” to actively engage and participate in their medical decision making?


First, the child must understand the proposed treatment and the health consequences of their decision to accept or refuse the treatment. Second, they need to understand that death is the cessation of life, a universal aspect of all living things, and a final and irreversible condition. Finally, they must be able to combine these capacities in a rational manner in order to make logical and informed choices about their health care.


Murphy. (2004) “Life Care Planning for the Child with HIV/AIDS.” In S. Riddick- Grisham (Ed.) Pediatric Life Care Planning and Case Management. (p.609-625) Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

last - long - blue Table of ContentsNext - long - blue