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Ethics Consultation Service

Clinical Ethics and Organizational Ethics Consultation Service for Hospitals and Nursing Homes

This service is offered by the Program in Bioethics, Law and Medical Professionalism at the University of Florida College of Medicine.

JCAHO Requirements on Patient Rights

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of HealthCare Organizations (JCAHO) recognizes that every hospital should have a functioning mechanism that addresses ethical issues arising in clinical practice and within the organization. This mechanism may take the form of an ethics committee or some other identified procedure for addressing ethical issues, including professional ethics consultants who provide that service.

For many hospitals it is simply not cost effective to maintain an active ethics committee which meets Joint Commission requirements. For example, the typical hospital ethics committee has between five and twenty members, meets monthly, has access to and is familiar with a considerable body of technical literature, is familiar with ethics consultation procedures, provides staff education and is available on a twenty-four hour basis for ethics consultation. When the professional staff time and commitment required for an effective ethics committee is cost factored, it is clear that an ethics committee is a significant expense for any institution. In many cases, it is more economical for a hospital to rely on professional ethics consultants with expertise and experience in clinical and organizational ethics.

Even hospitals which maintain an ethics committee may benefit from the consultation services we offer, such as access to the Florida Bioethics Resource Center, twenty-four hour ethics consultation services, and inservice training programs.

The Program in Bioethics, Law and Medical Professionalism at the University of Florida College of Medicine is now offering a variety of Ethics Consult Services designed to meet the clinical and organizational ethics needs of hospitals and nursing homes. The consulting faculty have the expertise, experience and the largest collection of ethics resources in the South to assist you in meeting your clinical ethics and organizational ethics needs. These services may be tailored to meet all of your institution’s ethics needs or may be designed to supplement your existing ethics mechanisms.

Ethics Consultation Services

Consultation services include:

  • Evaluation of your institution’s needs in clinical and organizational ethics.
  • Review of your institution’s policies which address ethical issues, e.g., Advance Directives, Withdrawal of Treatment, HIV Testing, Informed Consent, etc.
  • Twenty-four hour access to ethics consultation service.
  • Inservice programs for hospital staff, e.g., “How to Access Ethics Consultations”, “Common Ethical Problems in Medicine”, and “Advance Medical Directives”.
  • Assistance with the development of an Organizational Ethics Program, e.g., a “code of ethical behavior” inservice for administrative personnel. JCAHO site visit support. Assistance in the development of a functioning ethics committee, e.g., education packets, consult forms, information sheets, cases for discussion, etc.
  • Access to the Florida Bioethics Resource Center (FBRC). The FBRC has an extensive collection of books, articles, hospital policies, ethics cases, etc.
  • Updates on current law and public policy relating to health care ethics.
  • Educational programs for new and existing ethics committees, e.g., “How to Set Up and Run a Hospital Ethics Committee”, “The Effective Ethics Consultation Process”, “How to Document an Ethics Consult”, etc.
  • Community and patient education programs on ethical issues in health care.

Consulting Faculty