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  1. Ethics Consultation Process Maggie Procunier RN BSN Bioethics & Patient Rights South Miami Hospital

  2. Morals • An individual’s own code for acceptable behavior • They arise from an individual’s conscience • They act as a guide for individual behavior • They are Learned

  3. Ethics • Ethics deals with the “rightness” or “wrongness” of human behavior • Concerned with the motivation behind the behavior • Bioethics is the application of these principles to life-and-death issues

  4. Ethical Principles • Autonomy • Nonmaleficence • Beneficence • Justice • Fidelity • Confidentiality • Veracity • Accountability

  5. Autonomy • The freedom to make decisions about oneself • The right to self-determination • Healthcare providers need to respect patient’s rights to make choices about healthcare, even if the healthcare providers do not agree with the patient’s decision.

  6. Nonmaleficence • Requires that no harm be caused to an individual, either unintentionally or deliberately • This principle requires nurses to protect individuals who are unable to protect themselves

  7. Beneficence • This principle means “doing good” for others • Nurses need to assist clients in meeting all their needs • Biological • Psychological • Social

  8. Justice • Every individual must be treated equally • This requires nurses to be nonjudgmental

  9. Fidelity • Loyalty • The promise to fulfill all commitments • The basis of accountability • Includes the professionals faithfulness or loyalty to agreements & responsibilities accepted as part of the practice of the profession

  10. Confidentiality • Anything stated to nurses or health-care providers by patients must remain confidential • The only times this principle may be violated are: • If patients may indicate harm to themselves or others • If the patient gives permission for the information to be shared

  11. Veracity • This principle implies “truthfulness” • Nurses need to be truthful to their clients • Veracity is an important component of building trusting relationships

  12. Accountability • Individuals need to be responsible for their own actions • Nurses are accountable to themselves and to their colleagues

  13. Ethical Dilemmas • Occur when a problem exists between ethical principles • Deciding in favor of one principle usually violates another • Both sides have “goodness” and “badness” associated with them

  14. Why call an Ethics Consult? • Ethics Consult can help: • Discover and understand the issues • Serves as a forum for sharing of concerns and questions • Identifies possible treatment alternatives • Provides guidance to the staff, patient, and family members • Resolves conflicts

  15. Using the Nursing Process • Assessment • Planning • Implementation • Evaluation

  16. Approach to Ethical Dilemma

  17. Ethical Decision Making Process • Describe the problem • Gather the facts • Clarify values • Note reactions • Identify ethical Principles • Clarify legal rules • Explore options and alternatives • Decide on a recommendation • Develop an action plan • Evaluate the plan

  18. Patient is an 89 year old male admitted with Hyperkalemia, ESRD, HTN, and Bladder Cancer. Patient’s past medical history includes recurrent bladder carcinoma, CVA, hernia repair and hemodyalisis. Patient was admitted due to weakness and 2 weeks of diarrhea for which he had refused to be dialyzed for 7 days. Patient lives at home with wife and daughter who are both his healthcare surrogates. Based on patient’s poor prognosis, oncologist had recommended on previous admissions that patient be made Hospice Care with comfort measures. Case #1

  19. Case #1 Cont. Daughter and wife have refused Hospice care and want patient to be dialyzed and continue aggressive treatment to include full resuscitation if cardiopulmonary arrest. Daughter and wife have requested all physicians to refrain from speaking to patient about his prognosis. At this time all physicians have followed daughter and wife’s request not let patient know that his cancer has returned, except for the “new” attending physician.

  20. Is there an Ethical dilemma? • Autonomy? • Nonmaleficence? • Beneficence? • Justice? • Fidelity? • Confidentiality? • Veracity? • Accountability?

  21. What would you do? • Tell “new” physician to get on board with the rest of the healthcare providers in following the wife and daughter’s request… • Tell the patient that his wife and daughter are keeping information from him… • Do nothing… • Call for an ethics consult?

  22. Ethical Decision Making Process • Describe the problem • Gather the facts • Clarify values • Note reactions • Identify ethical Principles • Clarify legal rules • Explore options and alternatives • Decide on a recommendation • Develop an action plan • Evaluate the plan

  23. Resolution • Ethics spoke with Attending physician and plan was to speak first with daughter and wife regarding their role as health care surrogates. • Attending physician, healthcare team, and ethics would then meet with patient and inquire if he wanted information regarding his prognosis and/or medical care. • After speaking with daughter, wife, and patient individually and obtaining a clearer understanding of the patient’s wishes, and the clarification of the healthcare surrogates role, a family conference would be scheduled with health care team and family to summarize the findings…

  24. Resolution • Things never go as you plan them… • Daughter refused to have wife speak with the team • Daughter wanted to be part of the conversation when attending spoke to her father to inquire if he wanted information or not… • Attending agreed to let daughter be present during the conversation (mistake)

  25. Case # 2 88 year old male with extensive medical history including end stage Parkinson's disease. He was admitted due to pneumonia and was intubated and now is in Intensive care unit. Patient’s wife was identified as proxy since patient had never completed an Advance Directive or had a Living Will. 2 weeks have passed and patient has been unable to be weaned from ventilator. Wife continues to indicate she wants to take patient home on the ventilator… Attending physician did not feel that wife’s request to take patient home were realistic nor did he feel patient would have “a good quality of life.” His recommendations were Comfort Measure/Withdraw of life support.

  26. Case # 2 Continued Palliative Care is involved and many family conferences have been held. Wife refuses to make patient a Do Not Resuscitate, or sign any type of withdrawal papers. She wants “full care” She continues to verbalize she wants to take patient home. Wife had full time 24 hour care team at home taking care of patient and she wants to take him home. Ethics consult is called by attending physician….

  27. What would you do? • Try to convince wife that a DNR would be the best for the patient in his condition… • Speak to physician to find out what he plans to do next… • Call for an ethics consult

  28. Ethical Decision Making Process • Describe the problem • Gather the facts • Clarify values • Note reactions • Identify ethical Principles • Clarify legal rules • Explore options and alternatives • Decide on a recommendation • Develop an action plan • Evaluate the plan

  29. Resolution Palliative Care and ethics consultant met with wife and she understood that if he went home, he would have to have a tracheotomy. Recommendations from team was to arrange Respiratory department to show caregivers and wife how to take care of patient once he was at home with tracheotomy. Wife agrees to tracheotomy and a consult is requested. Wife was also informed of him having to go to a skilled nursing facility first and then after he was stronger would be able to go home. Patient was trachedand discharge to skilled nursing facility for rehab.

  30. Case #3 54 year old male - history of previous subdural hematoma, HTN, and atrial fibrillation. Patient aspirated and coded. He is in intensive care unit on ventilator and Dopamine for hemodynamic stability. Attempts at weaning have been unsuccessful…wife (healthcare surrogate) signed consent for tracheotomy in order for patient to be weaned off ventilatoras recommended by pulmonologist… On the same day wife signed consent for tracheotomy, Primary Care Physicians during rounds feels that his prognosis is poor, and his recommendation for plan of care is to have patient made CMO and eventually withdrawal of life support should be initiated, he did not agree with pulmonologist recommendations… Pulmonologist does not agree with current plan to make patient CMO and withdrawal and wants to continue therapy…”he can improve, give him time”.

  31. Case #3 Cont. Pulmonologist contacts wife regarding the scheduling of the tracheotomy, and is surprised to find out that she has signed papers for Comfort Measures Only & withdrawal of ventilator… Family is now confused with conflicting goals of care…wife has agreed to CMO and withdrawal of vent after speaking with attending but is still not sure she is doing the right thing…she would like to give time but “how long?” Staff is torn between wife’s decision and her verbalization of “confusion” and physician’s recommendations and conflicting opinions by pulmonologist and attending physician… Pulmonologists calls for ethics consult…patient is not withdrawn awaiting ethics recommendations…

  32. What would you do? • Tell wife attending is right and she should sign the CMO papers… • Tell wife she should get a pulmonologists second opinion… • Call Risk Management because of the conflict between the attending and pulmonary doctor… • Call attending and tell him wife is confused… • Do NOTHING! ** Ethics Consult was requested by pulmonologist…

  33. Ethical Decision Making Process • Describe the problem • Gather the facts • Clarify values • Note reactions • Identify ethical Principles • Clarify legal rules • Explore options and alternatives • Decide on a recommendation • Develop an action plan • Evaluate the plan

  34. Resolution • Social Work and ethics chair spoke individually to attending and pulmonologist to clarify goals of care and prognosis. • Social Work and ethics consultant spoke with patient's wife and she verbalized her confusion but had agreed to sign CMO and Withdrawal of life support at the time because she didn’t really understand what that meant… • Wife wanted to give her husband a chance to be weaned off ventilator and she rescinded the CMO and Withdrawal of Life Support forms • Patient had the scheduled trache done the following day • Patient was transferred to vent floor and was transferred to long term care facility for rehab…