The Ethics Committee is a multidisciplinary team composed of physicians, nurses, social workers, administrators, chaplains and other employees. The Committee has three main purposes.
- Provide a consultation service for any patient, family member, or employee who believes there is an ethically challenging issue that is not being addressed or that they need help resolving, beyond going through normal channels.
- Provide education to hospital employees through yearly Clinical Grand Rounds, attend staff meetings to address specific issues or as a part of an open forum to support staff and meet individually or in small groups when employees are in need of support.
- Support hospital administration by reviewing new policies or procedures that may impact an ethical issue, patients' rights, employee rights and other similar topics.
Services Provided By The Ethics Committee
The Ethics Committee provides the requested consultation services, meets bimonthly to review any consultations that arise, receives updated information on any legal or ethical issues and acts as a resource by making recommendations on programs, education, process improvement and proposed policy and procedure changes.
Description Of An Ethics Consultation
An ethics consultation is a review of circumstances brought to the committee where the members provide information, suggestions and support to those involved in the case. The committee is not a decision making body but a consultative one, thus it provides recommendations and support to those involved.
Issues That Can Be Resolved By The Ethics Committee
- Withdrawal of life support
- Questions of hydration or nutrition
- Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders
- Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) concerns
- Questions about when a patient or family can refuse treatment
- Who has the right to make decisions/clarification of proxy rights
- Questions about advance directives and when they apply
- Concerns when providers and family disagree about the treatment plan
- When there is disagreement among family members about the treatment plan
- Palliative care issues
- Other ethical dilemmas
How To Request An Ethics Consultation
Anyone can request an ethics consult with the knowledge of the patient’s care team. This can be done by the physician, the nurse or social worker on the unit, or by calling the Social Work office. The Ethics Committee is available seven days a week, and a consultation will be started within 24 hours of notification.