What is Ethics in a healthcare setting?

Ethics involves helping patients, families, and those who work in health care when they are facing difficult moral or value-based choices about the right or best course of action. The goal is not to impose values on others, but to support individuals and groups in solving complex problems. This helps them to make informed decisions about treatment.

Topics in health care that might present an ethical challenge could include:

  • Goals for treatment
  • Value differences and conflicts
  • End-of-life decision-making
  • Allocation of resources

What is an Ethicist, and how can they help me?

All patients at Oak Valley Health, their families, and staff have access to an ethicist. The ethicist is a resource person, with advanced training in ethics, who can help clarify ethical issues. An ethicist can offer other perspectives, review options and assist patients, families, and health care teams with decision-making.

What will the Ethicist do?

  • Provide confidential consultation
  • Ensure all relevant facts, values, and options are explored
  • Help people understand and explore available treatment options
  • Identify and provide information to help people make decisions about ethical issues
  • Mediate to assist individuals and/or groups when there is a difference of opinion about a particular patient care situation
  • Participate in Oak Valley Health’s Research Ethics Board, to address ethical issues in research
  • Provide education to patients, families, and professionals on ethical issues in health care

Are there any resources available to help me make a decision?

At Oak Valley Health, we have an Ethics Framework, processes, and policies that help patients, families, and staff make ethical decisions. They can help you deal with difficult ethical dilemmas. The following documents may be helpful to you:

For help with an ethical issue or using the Ethics Framework, please contact our ethicist at 905-472-7373 ext. 6937 or email ethics@oakvalleyhealth.ca and your email will be answered within two business days.