WHAT IS ETHICS?
Ethics can be described as a way of critically looking at
issues that includes:
- Deciding what we should do (what decisions are right or
- Explaining why we should do it (justifying our decision
using ethical principles)
- Describing how we should do it (the method or manner of our
Definition paraphrased from Dr. Barbara Secker, University
of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics.
WHAT IS AN ETHICAL ISSUE?
If you answer yes to one or more of the following questions you
may be facing an ethical issue:
- Am I trying to determine the right course of action?
- Am I asking a “should” question?
- Are values and beliefs involved?
- Am I feeling uncomfortable?
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ETHICS IN AN ORGANIZATION?
Much like the accountability for quality or patient safety,
everyone has a role to play in ensuring the ethical delivery of healthcare,
from the point of care to the boardroom. Ethical principles and values should
be incorporated into the way that decisions are made and care is delivered
ETHICS IN OUR ORGANIZATION
Renfrew Victoria Hospital recognizes that, in the course of
delivery of service to patients and residents, situations may arise that result
in conflict among service providers, patients, residents, families, substitute
decision- makers (SDMs) and the community about an appropriate course of action
or non-action or allotment of resources. These may be ethical situations. The
Ethics Committee’s role is to support and assist staff, physicians, patients,
residents, families and SDMs through a resolution process. The Ethics Committee
acts in advisory capacity only.
The purpose of the Ethics Committee is to support patient
autonomy and to act as a resource for staff, patients and patient’s families in
issues related to ethics. The function of the Committee is:
- Education of the committee, staff, patients and patient
families on ethics, rights and how to do ethical thinking.
- Input into the establishment of policies related to confidentiality,
anonymity, privacy, informed consent and release of information to the local
news media. The committee may also assist in developing policies for the use of
new technology and end of life care.
- The Committee will function as a patient centered
committee and raise the consciousness of patient rights and the need for shared
- The development of a framework for moral discourse that
will support good ethical decision-making and make contributions towards the
quality of care given to patients.
- The development of protocols for presenting issues to and
communicating the ethics committee’s recommendation back to family members and
the institution’s staff.
- Assist with the naming of surrogates for incapacitated
- To seek judicial review when a decision is beyond a
- Support patient autonomy and act as a resource for staff,
patients and patients’ families in issues related to ethics.
- Support and
promote organ donation in a compassionate manner. In addition, all
professionals also have commitments to their own professional principles and
codes of ethics. Ethical decisions are guided by the values of our
IDEA: ETHICAL DECISION-MAKING FRAMEWORK
The RVH Ethics Committee uses the IDEA: Ethical Decision making
Framework as a guide to help healthcare providers and administrators work
through clinical ethical issues. The Accountability for Reasonableness
Framework (A4R) may be used for organizational decisions at the Board and
Senior Management level.
To make a case consultation request, please contact Chris
Ferguson, VP, Patient Care Services at 613-432-4851 extension 225. To download a copy of this brochure, please click on the following link: Ethics Brochure.