Patient Involvement in Clinical Ethics Services: From Access to Participation and Membership
Clinical Ethics 2009 September; 4(3): 146-151
Ethics consultation is a novel paradigm in European health-care institutions. In this paper, patient involvement in all clinical ethics activities is scrutinized. It is argued that patients should have access to case consultation services via clearly defined access paths. However, the right of both health-care professionals and patients indicates that patients should not always be notified of a consultation. Ethics education, another well-established function of an ethics committee, should equally be available for patients, lay people and hospital staff. Beyond access and utilization, lay membership on a clinical ethics service is a matter of transparency, equal participation, empowerment and democratization. Lay and patient perspectives will contribute to the quality of ethics services on all levels from case consultations to ethics education and policy development.
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