Interprofessional ethics rounds concerning dialysis patients: staff's ethical reflections before and after rounds

Journal of Medical Ethics 34 (5):407-413 (2008)
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Objective: To evaluate whether ethics rounds stimulated ethical reflection. Methods: Philosopher-ethicist-led interprofessional team ethics rounds concerning dialysis patient care problems were applied at three Swedish hospitals. The philosophers were instructed to stimulate ethical reflection and promote mutual understanding between professions but not to offer solutions. Questionnaires directly before and after rounds were answered by 194 respondents. The analyses were primarily content analysis with Boyd’s framework but were also statistical in nature. Findings: Seventy-six per cent of the respondents reported a moderate to high rating regarding new insights on ethical problem identification, but the ethics rounds did not seem to stimulate the ethical reflection that the respondents had expected (p<0.001). Dominant new insights did not seem to fit into traditional normative ethics but were instead interpreted as hermeneutic ethics. This was illustrated in the extended perspective on the patient and increased awareness of relations to other professions. Regarding insights into how to solve ethical problems, the request for further interprofessional dialogue dominated both before and after rounds. Conclusion: The findings show the need for interprofessional reflective ethical practice but a balance between ethical reflection and problem solving is suggested if known patients are discussed. Further research is needed to explore the most effective leadership for reflective ethical practice



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