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The need for a clinical ethics service and its goals in a community healthcare service centre: a survey


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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