Ethics can be defined as a set of principles or standards of conduct which are the beliefs of an organization and guide the organization’s practice. Heartland Health Region’s ethical standards and the foundation for our practice are built on the values of respect, excellence, collaboration, compassion and stewardship.
Heartland Ethics Advisory Committee
The Heartland Health Region Ethics Advisory Committee advocates for a standard of ethical practice, knowledge and sensitivity.
It’s purpose is to support ethics and values within the organization by ensuring best possible care of clients and staff through
- Raising conscious awareness of day to day decision making
- Advocating for clients and staff
- Promoting organizational values of respect, excellence, collaboration, compassion and stewardship.
The Ethics Advisory Committee is composed of a minimum of seven members appointed by the authority. In appointing members to the committee, the RHA will strive to represent as many of the following disciplines and interests as possible – Social Work, Administration, Theology, Law, Psychiatry, Ethics, Philosophy, Nursing, Research, Medicine, Psychology, Authority member(s) and a Community/consumer representative.
The role of the committee is:
- To addres the areas of Ethical Treatment and services, ethical Research, Ethical Decision Making and Resource Allocation;
- Validate the ethical content of policies referred to it by the Authority or its Administration.
- Review and recommend region-wide polices on matters of bioethical importance for consideration by the Authority
- Provide a consultative service for the purpose of giving advice and guidance on ethical issues to administration, staff and physicians of the health region
- Initiate and support educational programs that examine ethical matters for health professionals, Ethics Advisory Committee members, the Authority and the general public
- Establish and retain consulting resources to assist in handling concerns (Research approval through U of S for example)
- Annually the Committee will:
- Review its terms of reference and recommend changes if any
- Establish goals and objectives for the coming year
- Evaluate its effectiveness
- Submit a report to the Authority, which includes information on the above areas.
Health Ethics Consultation
The Heartland Health Region will have a process to provide health ethics consultations when requested, to clients and their representatives; to Region staff;to physicians practicing in the Region’s facilities and agencies; and to other involved parties. The goal of a health ethics consultationis to improve the provision of health careand its outcome through the identification, analysis and resolution of ethical issues. (Aulisio 2000)
Problems and disagreements regarding the moral or “right” thing to do occasionally arise in the course of health care provision.These problems can create “ethical distress” for clients,their families/representatives, and healthcare workers. Health ethics consultation is a service provided by an individual or group to help patients, families, substitute decision makers,health care providers, or other involved parties address uncertainty or conflict regarding value-laden issues that emerge in health care. (Aulisio, 2000)
Requests for, and participation in health ethics consultations are voluntary, and consultations and subsequent case reviews are, by their nature, advisory. The consultation service and case review process will serve to facilitate a guided discussion of the issues, and offer recommendations, opinions and/or advice, none of which are binding. The appropriate decision-makers are free to accept or reject any advice provided.
To Request a Health Ethics Consultation in Heartland Health Region:
- Call the Heartland Health Region Corporate Office at 306-882-4111. Your request will be taken by an administrative assistant and they will ask you for your name, contact information, and whether the issue is urgent or non-urgent. The information will be immediately forwarded to the Chairperson (or assigned alternate) of the Regional Ethics Advisory Committee.
- By email to email@example.com, or
- By mail to Ethics Contact, PO Box 2110 Rosetown SK S0L 2V0
Approaches to Ethical Decision Making:
Respect for Autonomy
To organize conditions contributing to the decisional process which respects the person’s rights to personal opinions, to make choices, to take actions in keeping with their values and beliefs. The client has the right to refuse or choose their treatment. Beneficence
The moral obligation to act for the well-being of others. To ensure that the goal of intervention is to minimize harms and to maximize beneficial effects for the person; a practioner shouel act in the best interest of the client.
Not exposing others to potential risk of being hurt or harmed. “First Do No Harm”.
Equity. To respond to needs without descrimination and with impartiality. Concerns the distribution of scarce health resources and the decision of who gets what treatment (fairness and equality).
Distributive Justice – The obligation of society to distribute the goods of that society equitably to its members.
Social Justice – The concern to root out social habits, institutions or structures thatharm the common good of society and to establish structures, ways of acting and attitudes that promote the common good.
The action that contributes most to the achievement of a quality common life together. Help all participate more fully in the life we share as family, community and society members.
The action that embodies the habits and values of humans at their best. For example, a person of courage or a person of compassion. Character/virtues are the driving force for ethical behaviour and may include honesty, compassion, courage, generosity, tolerance, love, fidelity, integrity, fairness, self-control and prudence.