Ethics Consultation

In health care, patients and families often face the difficult question of "what should be done?" The best choice for one patient may be the wrong choice for another.

Chester County Hospital's health care team is here to help you navigate these tough decisions. But, if you are still not sure about what is right or what should be done, you may wish to request an ethics consultation.


* Please speak to a member of your health care team to request an ethics consultation.

What is ethics consultation?

Ethics consultation is a service provided by specially trained hospital staff. When there is uncertainty or conflict about the right thing to do, ethics consultants work with patients, families and staff to help them make good decisions to resolve these concerns.

Ethics consultants will not investigate complaints or allegations of misconduct. These are handled by the Patient Advocate Office.

Ethics Committee Purpose

  • To enhance education among members of Chester County Hospital health care community concerning bioethical issues facing health care professionals hospitals.
  • To develop and review policies related to bioethical issues.
  • To provide a forum for interdisciplinary dialogue by facilitating communication concerning the ethical implications of patient care.
  • To educate, when appropriate, the patient and his/her family to help them understand the ethical issues specific to that patient's care.

Procedure

  • Allow involved parties to express concerns and views of all parties involved
  • Clarify misinformation
  • Supply missing information
  • Communicate to all parties
  • Document the options considered
  • Communicate the final outcome

Patients and families may consider asking for an ethics consultation when:

  • A serious decision has to be made about treatment and there is disagreement between the patient and decision makers or the decision makers do not agree
  • A patient is too sick to make his/her healthcare decisions and assistance is needed to determine the ethically appropriate decision maker
  • Making a decision about withholding or withdrawing treatment or discussing the limitations of medical interventions
  • Assistance is needed with communication and recommendations to help achieve acceptable solutions
  • Guidance for the patient and healthcare providers is needed with differing care plans

Who can request an ethics consultation?

Anyone can ask for an ethics consultation.

What does an ethics consultation cost?

Ethics consultations are completely free. You will not be billed for an ethics consultation.

What happens in an ethics consultation?

Ethics consultants will not make a decision for you -- they will make sure that everyone's point of view is heard. They will also:

  • Ask about your concerns.
  • Gather information from all involved.
  • Determine if other experts are needed. For example, lawyers will be asked for legal opinions; medical specialists will be asked for medical opinions.
  • Identify possible options.
  • Make recommendations to you and the other people involved.
  • Add a note to the patient's health record documenting the ethics consultation as it relates to medical care.
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