Table 1

Roles and endpoints according to normative premises

Hermeneutic role of ethics consultantAnalytical role of ethics consultant
  • Facilitate the building of consensus26 33

  • Assist the involved individuals in clarifying their own values33 34

  • Facilitate the building of morally acceptable shared commitments or understanding33 34

  • Listen well and communicate interest, respect, support and empathy to involved parties33

  • Understand and represent the views and moral beliefs of involved parties to others33 36

  • Enable the involved parties to communicate effectively and be heard by other parties33 34

  • Recognise and attend to various relational barriers to communication33

  • Interpret, evaluate and change perspectives32

  • Keep distance from content38

  • Gather relevant data33

  • Clarify relevant concepts33 34

  • Clarify related normative issues33

  • Identify the need for consultation36

  • Help to identify a range of morally acceptable options within the context33 34

  • Distinguish the ethical dimensions of the case and educate parties about dimension32–34

  • Identify, formulate and justify a range of morally acceptable options33 34 36

  • Offer suggestions that improve the process and outcome of patient care26

  • Give substantial advice38

  • Be authoritarian with respect to outcome or process32 33

  • Advocate, defend arguments, values or principles32

  • Articulate problems (that are overlooked, neglected) or errors32

  • Refer to, rely on values/norms; ensure that identified options comport with bioethics, medical, and scholarly literature, laws and practices32 34

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Range of hermeneutic endpoints Range of analytical endpoints
  • Development of team spirit44

  • Improvement of interprofessional communication18 43–45 49 50

  • Relief of professionals43 44

  • Relationship between parties45 46

  • Increase in confidence19

  • Power in and accessibility to ECC19 21 43

  • Costs/cost efficiency3 4 47 51 52

  • Ability/awareness to identify ethical issues19 45 46

  • Application of knowledge to case20 46

  • Clarification of care options18

  • Time to consult (response time)53 54

  • Number of ethical issues dealt with54

  • Improvement of patient outcomes26

  • Improvement of decision-making process4 18 26 45

  • ECC, ethical case consultations.