The Ethics and Discernment Centre supports families and care teams with education, policy information, clinician coaching and formal clinical ethics consultation.
We help you work through difficult situations step-by-step, using a clear and reasoned process. Our team can help you over phone, in person or through a formal meeting.
Anyone can request an ethics consultation: patients, family members, healthcare team members, staff, etc. We protect your confidentiality when you contact us and throughout the consultation.
We try to respond to requests within 24 hours on weekdays. We will answer after-hours requests the following business day.
Clinical ethics consultations include structured discussions led by an ethics consultant. We will use the Health Ethics Guide and Covenant Health’s ethical decision-making framework for direction.
When to request a consultation
Before requesting an ethics consultation, consider whether:
- There is a disagreement or difference of opinion between care team members or between the patient or family and the care team.
- There is significant moral uncertainty about a particular patient's care plan.
- There are conflicting views on the goals of care or the best interests of the patient.
- You need to weigh diverse moral values and beliefs or options.
- There are any clear standards of care, practice or policy that would resolve the issue.
An ethics debriefing focuses on the experience of a team or group during or after a difficult situation. The debrief is an opportunity to:
- reflect on a difficult decision
- identify ways to improve the quality of service in the future
- provide support for one another
- reduce moral distress
An Ethics and Discernment Centre team member may join your rounds or a team meeting to enhance your ethics-related knowledge and skills. Contact us with your request, and we will work with you to meet your needs.Request education
Moral distress support
Moral distress happens when care providers face a compromise that conflicts with their ethics.
Contact us if you would like support in your or your team’s experience of moral distress.Request moral distress support
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Urgent requests (after hours)
Call our main phone number and listen for the on-call contact information.