Patients, families, surrogates, health care providers, and other involved parties may request an ethics conversation without fear of reprisal.
- An ethics consultation team will be on call to receive the request and respond in a timely manner.
- An ethics conversation is always appropriate. This conversation is often a prelude to a full consultation but can simply be an informal discussion. Any member of the Ethics Consultation Service can be approached for this “conversation.”
- In the conversation setting, only the individuals involved in the “conversation” will be known. All identifying information pertaining to those not present will be kept confidential by the person requesting the conversation.
- If a conflict of interest is identified by any party to the conversation, he/she will withdraw at that time and if appropriate suggest another member (or members) of the service to proceed with the conversation.
- The conversation is informal and has no specific protocol guidelines.
- Moral advice as to particular outcome will be avoided. The conversation is seen as more heavily focused on education about relevant ethical issues than mediation.
- Since most participants are not identified, documentation in the medical record would not be possible. However, all conversations are reported at the next scheduled meeting of the service and subject to critique. Strict confidentiality will continue to be maintained. A summary of this educational discussion will be recorded in the subcommittee minutes.