Background: The traditional approach to resolving ethics concerns may not address underlying organisational issues involved in the evolution of these concerns. This represents a missed opportunity to improve quality of care “upstream”. The purpose of this study was to understand better which organisational issues may contribute to ethics concerns. Methods: Directed content analysis was used to review ethics consultation notes from an academic children’s hospital from 1996 to 2006 (N = 71). The analysis utilised 18 categories of organisational issues derived (...) and modified from published quality improvement protocols. Results: Organisational issues were identified in 68 of the 71 (96%) ethics consult notes across a range of patient settings and reasons for consultation. Thirteen of the 18 categories of organisational issues were identified and there was a median of two organisational issues per consult note. The most frequently identified organisational issues were informal organisational culture (eg, collective practices and approaches to situations with ethical dimensions that are not guided by policy), policies and procedures (eg, staff knows policy and/or procedural guidelines for an ethical concern but do not follow it) and communication (eg, communication about critical information, orders, or hand-offs repeatedly does not occur among services). Conclusions: Organisational issues contribute to ethical concerns that result in clinical ethics consults. Identifying and addressing organisational issues such as informal culture and communication may help decrease the recurrence of future similar ethics concerns. (shrink)
This paper proposes an ethical framework for rationing publicly financed health care. We begin by classifying alternative rationing criteria according to their ethical basis. We then examine the ethical arguments for four rationing criteria. These alternatives include rationing high technology services, non-basic services, services to patients who receive the least medical benefit, and services that are not equally available to all. We submit that a just health care system will not limit basic health care to persons unable to pay for (...) it. Furthermore, justice in health care requires limiting publicly-financed non-basic health care, striving for equality in access to basic health care, and relying on medical benefit to ration non-basic health care. (shrink)
A caregiver from the dominant U.S. culture and a patient from a very different culture can resolve cross‐cultural disputes about treatment, not by compromising important values, but by focusing on the patient's goals.