Ethics Consult Service

The Ethics Consult Service is a clinical resource for UI Health Care personnel who would like help addressing an ethical question or problem related to a patient’s care in either the inpatient or outpatient setting.

Ethics consults are advisory in nature and are designed to support, but not replace, personal lines of communication among those involved in ethically challenging situations.

Consultants help UI Health Care personnel:

  • Identify ethical problems in the care of a patient
  • Clarify ethical problems through a careful analysis of the beliefs and values involved
  • Promote discussion and dialogue of the beliefs, values, and ethical problems at issue with those directly involved in the patient’s care
  • Help advise on ethical problems through a process of shared decision making

Requests for an Ethics Consult are especially encouraged when:

  • UI Health Care personnel want to "talk through" important ethical dimensions of a patient's care;
  • A patient’s care raises unusual or very complex ethical issues;
  • UI Health Care personnel need help making an ethically significant decision;
  • Efforts by the patient, family and professional staff to resolve an ethical problem have reached an impasse;
  • There is serious ethical disagreement among health care professionals or within the professional-patient/family relationship about the course of treatment.

Where Do I Begin?

UI Health Care personnel (including trainees and students) can request an ethics consult by placing an order in EPIC and paging the ethics consultant on call (pager 2922).If the requesting person does not have ordering privileges, the ethics consultant will manage the EPIC order.

If a patient or family member feels an ethics consult might be helpful, they can discuss that option with any member of their health care team or the Office of the Patient Experience.

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