Promoting a Thriving Moral CommunityHealthcare decisions can be difficult—for patients, for families, and for clinicians. But it helps to know that the Wellstar Ethics Program is available to support patients, families and healthcare teams in navigating the moral and ethical dimensions of patient care. When you or a loved one are cared for by a Wellstar provider, you can count on behavior and decision-making that aligns with our mission, vision and values. And, when you’re faced with making hard medical choices, our Clinical Ethicists will be by your side with information, guidance and resources.
Ethics ConsultationPatients, surrogate decision-makers, family members, healthcare providers and many others may all be involved in a patient’s care—and may regularly face challenging ethical questions and dilemmas. When that happens, we’ll be here to help.
Helping Patients and Families Make Life's Most Difficult DecisionsWhen it comes to making a tough medical decision, it can feel like you’re all alone. But the truth is, dealing with ethical issues in healthcare is common. Here are a few situations we frequently see:
- How should surrogate decision-makers make life-altering medical decisions on behalf of a patient when the patient isn’t able to make an informed decision?
- What should be done when a patient’s surrogate decision-makers disagree about whether the patient would or would not have wanted a specific type of medical treatment?
- What’s necessary in order to conduct a good informed consent process for medical treatment?
- How should statements or wishes expressed in a patient’s healthcare advance directive be interpreted in a particular situation?
The Ethics Consultation ProcessThe Ethics Consultation Service, which is staffed by Wellstar Clinical Ethicists, is an advisory service. Our Clinical Ethicists will offer counsel and recommendations, but patients, families, surrogate decision-makers and healthcare providers remain in charge of their own decisions. During an ethics consultation, experienced Clinical Ethicists work with individuals or teams to think through ethical questions, dilemmas and issues in a thoughtful and precise manner. Patients, families and surrogate decision-makers may request an ethics consult by asking someone on the patient’s healthcare team to contact the Ethics Consultation Service on their behalf or (for non-urgent issues) by emailing [email protected]
Ethics ProgramThe Wellstar Ethics Program is led by the Assistant Vice President of Ethics and is staffed by Clinical Ethicists, Program Coordinators, an Ethics Research Team Lead and Clinical Ethics Fellows. While many ethics programs rely on a volunteer ethics committee model, our program employs full-time Clinical Ethicists, all of whom have advanced training and are certified in healthcare ethics. The moral implications of healthcare decisions are weighty. We believe utilizing individuals with appropriate training and experience honors our responsibility to provide high-quality care to our patients.
Ethics InitiativesThe Ethics Program has three primary initiatives in which healthcare professionals participate to promote a thriving moral community at Wellstar:
- An Ethics Grand Rounds series focused on core healthcare ethics topics and case discussions.
- An Ethics Liaison Network for highly engaged individuals seeking advanced ethics training, camaraderie and partnership with Clinical Ethicists for ethics work/projects.
- A system-level Ethics Advisory Group focused on strategic direction, policy work and quality review.