In an ethics case conference, one to three members of the Clinical Ethics Committee meet with members of the patient’s health care team. The ethics team leader will set up a date, time and place and contact those who need to be involved. If the parents are also involved in the meeting, we refer to this as an ethics consultation. Most patients are represented by a parent or guardian, although patients 18 years and older are automatically included. Families are encouraged to bring a support person — a relative, close friend, pastor or anyone they trust.
Together, the group thinks through what is best for the care of the individual child, in the individual situation. We respect the dignity of all and ensure that:
- Every person is heard;
- Family values are clarified; and
- The goals of care are discussed.
The goal is to arrive at an answer to the question, “What are the best choices we have in the care of this child?”
Ethics conversations, case conferences and consultations are often brought back to the monthly CEC meeting for discussion and further recommendations. Formal documentation of ethics consultations are made in the patients chart with recommendations by the consultants and committee.