Functions and Outcomes of a Clinical Medical Ethics Committee: A Review of 100 Consults [Book Review]

HEC Forum 24 (2):99-114 (2012)
Abstract   Context: Established in 1997, Summa Health System’s Medical Ethics Committee (EC) serves as an educational, supportive, and consultative resource to patients/families and providers, and serves to analyze, clarify, and ameliorate dilemmas in clinical care. In 2009 the EC conducted its 100th consult. In 2002 a Palliative Care Consult Service (PCCS) was established to provide supportive services for patients/families facing advanced illness; enhance clinical decision-making during crisis; and improve pain/symptom management. How these services affect one another has thus far been unclear. Objectives: This study describes EC consults: types, reasons, recommendations and utilization, and investigates the impact the PCCS may have on EC consult requests or recommendations. Methods: Retrospective reviews of 100 EC records explored trends and changes in types of consults, reasons for consults, and EC recommendations and utilization. Results: There were 50 EC consults each in the 6 years pre- and post-PCCS. Differences found include: (1) a decrease in number of reasons for consult requests (133–62); (2) changes in top two reasons for EC consult requests from ‘Family opposed to withdrawing life-sustaining treatment (LST)’ and ‘Patient capacity in question’ to ‘Futility’ and ‘Physician opposed to providing LST’; (3) changes in top two recommendations given by the EC from ‘Emotional Support for Patient/Family’ and ‘Initiate DNR Order’ to ‘Comfort Care’ and ‘Withdraw Treatment.’ Overall, 88% of recommendations were followed. Conclusion: PCCS availability and growth throughout the hospital may have influenced EC consult requests. EC consults regarding family opposition to withdrawing LST and EC recommendations for patient/family support declined. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-16 DOI 10.1007/s10730-011-9170-9 Authors Jessica Richmond Moeller, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Akron General Medical Center, 400 Wabash Ave, Akron, OH 44307, USA Teresa H. Albanese, Health Services Research and Education Institute, Summa Health System and Northeast Ohio Medical University, 55 Arch St., Suite 1A, Akron, OH 44304, USA Kimberly Garchar, Kent State University, 6000 Frank Ave., N.W, North Canton, OH 44720, USA Julie M. Aultman, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Northeast Ohio Medical University, P.O. Box 95, Rootstown, OH 44272, USA Steven Radwany, Palliative Care and Hospice Services, Summa Health System and Northeast Ohio Medical University, 55 Arch St., Suite 1A, Akron, OH 44304, USA Dean Frate, Internal Medicine, Palliative Care and Hospice Services, Summa Health System and Northeast Ohio Medical University, 55 Arch St., Suite 1A, Akron, OH 44304, USA Journal HEC Forum Online ISSN 1572-8498 Print ISSN 0956-2737
Keywords Ethics  Hospital ethics committee  End-of-life decision making  Palliative care  Consult service
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DOI 10.1007/s10730-011-9170-9
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References found in this work BETA
Ellen L. Csikai (1998). The Status of Hospital Ethics Committees in Pennsylvania. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 7 (1):104-107.

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