Involving Patients and Relatives in Norwegian Clinical Ethics Committee: What Have We Learned?
Hansen, Thor Willy Ruud
Clinical Ethics 2009 September; 4(3): 125-130
To date, few Norwegian clinical ethics committees (CECs) have included patients or next of kin in case discussions. In 2008, Rikshospitalet's (The National Hospital's) CEC began to routinely invite patients and relatives into case discussions. In this paper, we describe seven cases discussed by this committee in 2008. Six involved life and death decision-making in collaboration with the next of kin, while one related case did not include relatives. In our opinion, representing the patient's perspective was advantageous to the discussion itself, to the conclusion made and to the next of kin's acceptance of the resolution. We believe that if the patient had been represented in the last case, the outcome might have been different. We conclude that successful patient involvement will rely on well-structured case discussions, an open atmosphere and good preparation and follow-up.
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