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The need for a clinical ethics service and its goals in a community healthcare service centre: a survey
  1. E Racine1,
  2. K Hayes2
  1. 1Neuroethics Research Unit, Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM), Québec, Canada
  2. 2CLSC René-Cassin, Côte-St-Luc, Montréal, Québec, Canada
  1. Correspondence to:
 E Racine
 Neuroethics Research Unit, Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM), 110 avenue des Pins Ouest, Montréal, QC, H2W 1R7, Canada; eric.racine{at}


Objectives: To (1) assess whether according to healthcare providers, the creation of an ethics service responds to a need; (2) assess the importance of an ethics service for healthcare providers; (3) determine what ethics services should be offered and the preferred formats of delivery; and (4) identify key issues to be initially dealt with by the ethics service.

Design: A survey of healthcare providers in Québec’s Centre Local de Services Communautaires (CLSC), healthcare institutions dedicated to community health and social services.

Findings: 96 (95%) respondents agreed that an ethics service was needed, and on average the ethics service project was judged to be very important. Preferred formats for ethics consultation and education were identified, as well as key concerns such as the need of respect for the patient as a person, elder abuse and ethical issues in home care.

Conclusion: This survey is helping in the implementation of an ethics service and can guide others in similar healthcare institutions.

  • CLSCs, Centre Local de Services Communautaires
  • HEC, healthcare ethics committee
  • IRB, institutional review board

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  • Writing of the paper for ER was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities and Research Council of Canada and NIH/NINDS R01 #NS045831 (Judy Illes, Stanford University).

  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethics approval: The chairperson of the IRB waived the need for review and consent forms (CLSC René Cassin IRB), given the minimal risks involved.

    ER was an Inter in clinical ethics, CLSC, at the time of the research, and postdoctoral fellow at the Neuroethics Imaging Group, Stanford University, at the time of writing the manuscript.