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Ethics Consultation Service (ECS)

What is Ethics?

Ethics is about reflecting on our values  and making  decisions that are values-based.

Typical Ethical Questions Include:

What should we do?
(What actions are good or right?)

Why should we do it?
(Exploring the reasons for our decisions.)

How should we do it?
(What plan is most ethical?)

Patients, families, staff, doctors and trainees make  up the health care team. Health care teams make  ethical decisions every day in caring for patients.

However,  when  teams face difficult choices or conflict arises, the Ethics Consultation Service provides a process to help. This process allows the team to consider their personal and professional values, and to reflect on what  is best  for patients.

Any member of the health care team, including patients and families, may contact the Ethics Consultation Service for support.

When Should I Contact the Ethics Consultation Services?

If you find yourself struggling with a difficult ethical decision, or wondering what  is the right thing to do in a complex patient care situation, think about contacting the Ethics Consultation Service. An Ethics Consultant will speak with you to find out your needs, and may offer:

  • Education and guidance
  • Referrals
  • Facilitation of team discussions
  • Conflict resolution support, also called mediation

Ethics Consultants do not make  decisions for others, but they do support those facing difficult choices  by exploring all options.

Common situations where Ethics Consultants can help, include:

  • Disagreements regarding the plan of care or goals of treatment for a patien
  • Uncertainty about how to make  decisions for a patient who lacks capacity to make his / her own decisions
  • Conflict regarding what  treatments are best  for patients

If you are not sure if the Ethics Consultation Service can help in your situation, please page us and we will discuss your situation and if necessary connect you to the right service.

What is involved in an Ethics Consultation?

Ethics Consultants assist the  process of making ethical decisions by:

  • Discussing the facts of the situation with everyone involved to make  sure that the issues, choices, goals,  and likely outcomes are clearly understood
  • Exploring ethical values, principles, norms, policies, standards and resources
  • Making  clear the patient’s goals,  values, wishes and best  interests
  • Mediating and resolving  conflicts between parties
  • Helping the health care team agree  on the right course of action

Ethics Consultants respect the privacy of everyone involved, within legal limits.

Who Provides Ethics Consultation?

Ethics Consultation is provided  by a team of health care professionals at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS). All Ethics Consultants are trained in ethics  as well as mediation and communication skills. The team is supported by the Office of Clinical & Organizational Ethics.

How do I Access the Ethics Consultation Service?

You may contact the Ethics Consultation Service through the HHS paging  of?ce.

Call (905) 521-2100 (or ext. 76443 if you are calling from within the hospital) and ask to page the Ethics Consultation Service. Leave your name and the phone number at which you may be reached. An Ethics Consultant will call you back shortly.

Ethics Consultation is available Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

After hours  leave a message with the Office of Clinical & Organizational at ext. 73661 or email officeofethics@hhsc.ca and an Ethics Consultant will get back to you the next day.

Click here to review a brochure about the Ethics Consultation Service.

Hamilton Health Sciences • Hamilton, Ontario • 905.521.2100

Disclaimer: Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) offers Google Translate to better facilitate access for our community. However, HHS makes no claims regarding the accuracy of translations. Any and all health information should be verified by a health care professional.