Within hospitals and other health-care settings, ethical issues can come up at the patient’s bedside, in policy-making, administration, and research. Every day, decisions are made that have to consider basic ethical principles and moral reasoning.
Role of the clinical ethicist
Clinical ethicists deal with ethical issues that arise, both on the clinical and administrative side. In a hospital setting, they are usually called in by a physician or staff member, or requested by a family or patient, if a complex ethical issue arises.
When there is an ethical decision that needs to be made, a clinical ethicist helps staff, physicians and patients to walk through the process with decision makers, making sure they have the right information they need to make decisions.
- Providing ethics consultations and resources when it is difficult to make health care decisions
- Delivering ethics education in the hospital for patients and families, and in the community
- Reviewing, developing, implementing and evaluating ethics-related policies
- Participating on relevant hospital committees and working groups