Clinical Ethics for Hospitals

Gordon DuVal spent five years as the Bioethicist at a major hospital and research centre in Toronto and at the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics.  Clinical ethics services are provided to hospitals of any size or kind and include:

Ethics Education

Ethics Education offered to all health care providers and administrators is the cornerstone of any effective ethics program for health care institutions.  

Gordon DuVal Consulting offers ethics education in the form of interactive presentations on the core issues of ethical practice, including an introduction to clinical ethics and the resolution of ethical dilemmas, consent and capacity, confidentiality/privacy, end-of-life care and other topics identified by staff as needing particular attention.  Sessions of this kind are kept informal and accessible.  Based on the experience of presentations on “ethics basics,” we can further assess the educational needs of health centre staff and develop appropriate subsequent educational initiatives.  

Modeling ethical reasoning is an important aspect of learning and we can arrange and facilitate sessions for the discussion of challenging ethics cases that highlight challenging ethical dilemmas.  Such practical discussions give clinicians and others the opportunity to practice ethical analysis in the context of real cases.

Clinical Ethics Consultation

A key element of a health care ethics program is ethics case consultation provided to caregivers and others about clinical ethics dilemmas.  We can be available by phone to consult on the explication and resolution of ethical dilemmas and can also use video conference facilities or come to your hospital for “face-to-face” meetings.  Ethics consultations can range from a relatively straightforward talk with an individual to help clarify the ethical elements of a situation, to a full-scale meeting of team members and other affected persons for a richer discussion and resolution of a more complex dilemma.

Policy Development:

I can contribute to the development of hospital policy relating to ethical matters, including organizational ethics issues.  Expert ethics input can be valuable in reviewing existing policies for gaps and to ensure adherence to existing ethical and legal standards. Based on such review, revisions and additions to hospital policies and procedures can be recommended, any needed consultation can be facilitated, and the drafting of new or revised policies or procedures can be undertaken.   

Organizational Ethics

Organizational ethics is an increasingly important aspect of management and oversight, both at the Board and management levels. For example, a health care institution's Board may be interested in training to ensure that ethical principles are at the core of Board and administrative decision-making, including setting program or funding priorities, making difficult or controversial decisions, and managing conflicts of interest.  Organizational ethics principles can be applied to a range of administrative and Board decisions. Organizational ethics structures can be developed to foster heightened awareness of, and compliance with standards for management and executive decision-making that promotes and models ethical behaviour and promotes a more respectful clinical and workplace environment.  

Preparation for Accreditation:

Accreditation Canada standards increasingly include significant requirements relating to institutional ethics resources, training, and policies and practices.  Working together, we can prepare a plan for on-going compliance with accreditation standards relating to ethics to ease the stress of the accreditation process.  

Goals and Outcomes:

Accountability on all levels requires that programs funded and resources expended by an institution demonstrate effectiveness based on realistic benchmarks and the satisfaction of clear goals.  For this reason, we can help you establish realistic, measurable goals for the hospital's ethics program and to evaluate, based on reasonable outcome measures, how well these goals are being met.

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