“It is always the right time to do the right thing.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
What is Ethics?
Ethics is about making ‘right’ or ‘good’ choices and being able to justify or say why we made one choice over another.
Ethical principles encourage us to follow what is good and positive for our lives and society as a whole. For example: Justice (treating people fairly) and respect for individual autonomy (the right to make decisions for one’s self).
An example of an ethical dilemma in health care:
You are caring for a palliative patient who has asked to alter her Advance Care Directive so that CPR will be performed if her heart stops (even though she previously had a Do Not Resuscitate order in place). Other staff members are trying to talk her and her family out of this decision as they see it as futile. While this patient may be terminal, you are uncomfortable with your co-workers attitudes towards her end-of-life decision-making. What is your moral obligation to the patient and family in this situation?
Regional Ethics Committee
The Cypress Health Region Ethics Committee is a committee of the Cypress Health Region that advocates a high standard of ethical practice, knowledge, and sensitivity throughout the organization. The Ethics Committee will provide recommendations to Cypress Health Region leadership on matters pertaining to organizational ethics, clinical ethics, and research ethics.
The Cypress Health Region Ethics Committee advocates a high standard of ethical practice, knowledge and sensitivity within the Cypress Health Region.
- To recommend educational programs which examine ethical issues for Ethics Committee members, health care professionals and the general public.
- To act in an advisory capacity on matters of policy related to ethical issues.
- To recommend processes that suppose an environment in which health care professionals, individuals and families within the Cypress Health Region can discuss ethical concerns.
- To provide a process for hearing ethical issued from individuals and groups in the Cypress Health Region.
- To provide process for review of research requests within the Region for ethical and bioethical concerns.
Ethics Committee Membership represents the following areas:
- Administration (senior leadership representation)
- Community at large
- Faith community
- Front-line staff directly involved in care delivery
- Member with a role in research
- Mental Health
- Palliative Care
- Physician group
- Quality & Privacy
- Recreation Therapy
- Regional Health Authority board member
- Social Work
Contact Address & Phone Number
Regional Health Office
429 4th Avenue NE
Swift Current, SK S9H 2J9
306-778-9400 (ask the Hospital switchboard for the Ethics Committee contact person) firstname.lastname@example.org
Current Chair: Dr. Brandy Winquist, Director of Decision Support, Cypress Health Region
Request for Ethics Support Services
A key function of the Regional Ethics Committee is to provide recommendations to clinicians, patients and families, and to all health region staff to help resolve ethical dilemmas. Issues range from time-sensitive questions that have an immediate impact on patient care to organizational ethics concerns.
If you are struggling with a situation and would like to ask for assistance from the Ethics committee, please feel free to submit a request by email or phone.
How to get in touch with someone?
Email email@example.com or phone (306)778-9400 (ask the hospital switchboard for the Ethics Committee contact person)
What information will you need?
In the initial email you do not need to provide details about the situation, but it is helpful to offer a general account of the problem. The Chair will later ask you to provide as much detail as possible to give a clear description of the event(s).
What does the consultation process look like?
You will have the opportunity to explain the situation to the committee. This may occur by teleconference or in-person. Following the in-person meeting, you will receive a summary of the Committee’s recommendations. Recommendations may be specific to the program and individual staff members or patients, or they might extend to the whole organization.
The local Ethics Committee is a recommending body that analyzes situations from the perspective of the whole organization, including policy changes, program redesign, and staff education.
For time-sensitive ethical questions, the consultation will be completed immediately. For organizational ethics concerns (eg. general practice or policy), the consultation will be done during the Regional Ethics Committee`s monthly meeting.
Staff, patients, or physicians who bring forward a concern may be invited to participate in the consultation process. This is not necessary, as the requestor may be kept anonymous if they prefer.
The Ethics Committee is bound by the Cypress Health Region policy concerning the use and release of personal health information. Records of consultation made by the Committee will be maintained using appropriate means to ensure confidentiality.
Research Ethics Applications
All research involving Cypress health Region patients, residents, clients, and staff, must receive approval by one of the two provincial Research Ethics Boards in Saskatchewan- University of Saskatchewan or University of Regina. The Cypress Health Region’s Research Ethics Review is now harmonized with the University of Saskatchewan Research Ethics Board. As such, a copy of all applications will be shared with the local Regional Research Ethics Subcommittee for review and approval. Reviews by both organizations will be done simultaneously, and researchers will receive one certificate of approval from the provincial REB. If there are any other operational concerns regarding the proposed research, the Ethics Committee Chair will contact the researchers separately.
Useful learning link:
- Ethics Facilitator Workshop, Dr. Qaiser Fahim, Walker Place, October 2 and 3, 2014
- Torture in health care: The ethics of pain management, Cypress Regional Hospital, January 20, 2016
To be announced