Implementation of Clinical Ethics Consultation in German Hospitals

Science and Engineering Ethics 25 (4):985-991 (2019)
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Abstract

In order to build on the information that was obtained in the course of the first study, a follow-up survey was conducted first by phone and subsequently in a written form between August and October 2014. We contacted 1.858 hospitals in all of Germany for the follow-up survey by phone. In cases where a hospital had not participated in the first study, the willingness to participate in the follow-up survey was established in advance. The survey’s dispatch was ensured in the case of acceptance. The same structured survey was used as a research tool. The data of the first study and the follow-up survey were merged and evaluated. 654 surveys could be evaluated altogether. Our survey by phone revealed that 912 hospitals in all of Germany have at least one form of clinical ethics consultation available. The health care ethics committee is the most frequently implemented structure of clinical ethics consultation. The implementation of clinical ethics consultation is dependent on sponsorship and hospital size. Recommendations to deliver structures of clinical ethics consultations have a smaller influence on the implementation compared to the certification by KTQ respectively proCum Cert. The rate of implementation in regard to the structures of clinical ethics consultation has steadily increased for years. The establishment of clinical ethics consultation in German hospitals should be further promoted. It would be desirable further to develop suitable juridical regulations in order to implement clinical ethics consultation as well as structural parameters.

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