Health Care Analysis 21 (4):323-337 (2013)

Guy Widdershoven
VU University Amsterdam
In previous literature, ethicists mention several goals of Clinical Ethics Support (CES). It is unknown what key persons in healthcare institutions see as main–—and sub-goals of CES. This article presents the goals of CES as perceived by board members and members of ethics support staff. This is part of a Dutch national research using a mixed methods design with questionnaires, focus groups and interviews. Quantitative and qualitative data were analyzed and combined in an iterative process. Four main clusters of goals were found: 1) encouraging an ethical climate, 2) fostering an accountable and transparent organization, 3) developing professionalism and a final goal, overarching the previous three, 4) good care. Most important sub-goals of CES were: attention for ethical issues, raising awareness of ethical issues, fostering ethical reflection and supporting employees. The article ends with a discussion on the desirability to further operationalize the general goal of good care, the context-boundedness of our findings and the need to relate goals of CES to the features of organizational cultures to further improve the integration of CES in healthcare institutions
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DOI 10.1007/s10728-011-0189-5
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