Evaluation of moral case deliberation at the Dutch Health Care Inspectorate: a pilot study

BMC Medical Ethics 17 (1):31 (2016)
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Abstract

BackgroundMoral case deliberation as a form of clinical ethics support is usually implemented in health care institutions and educational programs. While there is no previous research on the use of clinical ethics support on the level of health care regulation, employees of regulatory bodies are regularly confronted with moral challenges. This pilot study describes and evaluates the use of MCD at the Dutch Health Care Inspectorate.The objective of this pilot study is to investigate: 1) the current way of dealing with moral issues at the IGZ; 2) experience with and evaluation of MCD as clinical ethics support, and 3) future preferences and needs regarding clinical ethics support for dealing with moral questions at the IGZ.MethodsWe performed an explorative pilot study. The research questions were assessed by means of: 1) interviews with MCD participants during four focus groups; and 2) interviews with six key stakeholders at the IGZ. De qualitative data is illustrated by data from questionnaires on MCD outcomes, perspective taking and MCD evaluation.ResultsProfessionals do not always recognize moral issues. Employees report a need for regular and structured moral support in health care regulation. The MCD meetings are evaluated positively. The most important outcomes of MCD are feeling secure and learning from others. Additional support is needed to successfully implement MCD at the Inspectorate.ConclusionWe conclude that the respondents perceive moral case deliberation as a useful form of clinical ethics support for dealing with moral questions and issues in health care regulation.

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Author Profiles

Guy Widdershoven
VU University Amsterdam