Clinical Ethics ServiceSt. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton first established its Clinical Ethics Service in 1986 as a way to support the improvement of patient care by assisting patients, family members, and healthcare professionals to resolve complex ethical issues. Since its inception, the Clinical Ethics Service has continued to provide case consultation, ethics education, policy review, and research on ethical issues. In conjunction with the Centre for Clinical Ethics, a joint venture of Providence Healthcare, St. Joseph’s Health Centre (Toronto), and St. Michael’s Hospital, our Clinical Ethics Service is committed to carrying on and fulfilling the mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Hamilton and as a faith based institution, we are dedicated to broadening the understanding that faith plays in the questions that confront individuals in their search for healing.
What Do We Do?1. Education
The Clinical Ethics Service offers ethics education sessions for medical and non-medical hospital staff, students, volunteers and the larger community. These sessions are designed to meet the needs of the participants and include:
- Participation and presentations at multi-disciplinary rounds,
- Ethics Grand Rounds for the hospital community,
- Presentations at national and international conferences,
- Lectures and leadership to a variety of community groups,
- Facilitation of workshops,
- Educating medical students, interns and residents in the Health Sciences Centre of McMaster University
2. Ethics Consultation
The Clinical Ethics Service provides consultative services to patients, families, non-medical and medical staff, volunteers and students on a wide variety of issues. Such issues include treatment decisions such as withholding or withdrawing treatment, consent and capacity, allocation of resources, hospital restructuring and institutional ethics.
The purpose of an ethics consult is to help others identify, analyze and resolve ethical issues, and to facilitate and support the decision-making process and the decision-makers.
The goals of ethics consultation are to enhance the ethical decision-making process, mediate value conflicts, and ultimately to improve patient care.
A request for an ethics consult may be initiated by anyone who has an ethical concern about a particular situation (including patients or family members).
3. Policy Development & Review
The Clinical Ethics Service is a valuable resource for policy development, implementation, evaluation and review both with the supporting institutions and the wider community. We collaborate with a variety of organizations including the Catholic Health Association of Canada, the Catholic Health Association of Ontario and the Anglican Church of Canada.
4. Research Ethics & Ethics Research
A staff member of the Clinical Ethics Service sits as member of the Research Ethics Board at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. The primary mandate of this committee is the protection of human research participants from harm. We are also committed to collaborative research in the area of health care ethics and theology and to developing further relationships to foster this.
What Are We Not
- The moral police
- The decision-maker
- Legal experts
- The only person who "do" ethics (everyone has a responsibility to act ethically)
Hepful Information and Brochures
- SJHH Ethics Consultation Service, Making Difficult Decisions
- A Principle Based Framework and Process For Ethical Decision Making
- Power of Attorney for Personal Care
- Informed Consent
- Capacity Assessment
- Advanced Care Planning
How do you contact us?To speak with a Clinical Ethicist, please call (905) 522-1155, ext. 33866.
Your confidentiality will be respect at all times, to the extent provided for under the law.