Ethics Consultation

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We provide ethics consultations to help address uncertainties or conflicts that arise in your health care with us.

Who can request a consult?

Any patient, client, or family member/loved one of a patient, staff, physician, or volunteer can request an ethics consult.

When would I request a consult?

Situations may include, but are not limited to:

  • Challenges in making decisions for patients or clients who do not have the capacity to make decisions for themselves 
  • Concerns around fairness in the treatment of patients or clients 
  • When patient/family/loved ones and/or members of the health care team do not agree about the next steps in treatment
  • Uncertainty if it is appropriate to withdraw or continue life-sustaining therapies 
  • Feelings of uncertainty about whether the right treatment decision is being made

What can I expect when I make a request?

We do not provide a 1-800-answer-your-challenging-ethics-question service, as very few ethical questions can be answered so easily.

We will do everything we can to support you, your family/loved ones, or your team through the problem by creating the time and space for those involved to communicate their concerns and come to the best possible resolution.

What happens once I submit my request for a consult?

Each situation is unique so the process may vary. In general, a trained member of the Fraser Health ethics consultation team will contact you for further details. Then, a member of the ethics consultation team will:

  • Meet with you in person 
  • Review the patient’s chart
  • Meet with other involved parties (family/loved ones, health care team members, etc) to collect information and different perspectives
  • Hold a consultation meeting with the people who are involved (often this will take place over two meetings)
  • Write up a summary of the discussion and decision made by the patient, family/loved ones, health care team members at the meeting(s)
  • Distribute the summary to all meeting participants, where appropriate 
  • Post a note on the patient chart to inform future health care workers of the decision
  • Conduct an evaluation of the consultation

I’m nervous about asking for a consult

You’re not alone. An ethics consultation may appear to be intimidating or scary, but we do our best to make all members involved comfortable.

How long does it take to initiate a consult?

Depending on the urgency of the situation an ethics consultation could be initiated within 1 hour or 48 hours. The process itself could take anywhere from 30 minutes (in an emergency situation) to 2 weeks (where time is not of the essence, the issues are complex, and there are many people involved).

How do I make a request?

Complete the Ethics Consult Request Form and email to ethics.services@fraserhealth.ca 

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