Ethics & Discernment

Introduction to COVID ethics

COVID-19 has a lot of people talking about ethics. Sometimes, it’s not so clear because the language of ethics seems so foreign (think words like “justification” and “normative”). Yet, when we hear you ask questions such as “why are we changing our priorities?” or expressing your concern by saying, ““It feels awful to have to enforce these restrictions”, we recognize in you the moral sensitivity that leads to questions about what kind of person you want to be and how you should treat others. 

During a pandemic, our cherished values come into sharp relief. Values important to you may include compassion and respect for your patients or residents, careful stewardship of resources, and fidelity to the mission of Catholic health. The stress and uncertainty of these challenging times require you to make difficult decisions almost daily. Under this strain, you may wonder how to hold onto values and how to manage the trade-offs that are inevitable.   

The Ethics & Discernment Centre has assembled resources to guide your thinking about how to live your values in this new health care environment. These resources will help you think about issues such as understanding the shift in the focus on the individual patient to the common good, how to respond compassionately to visitor restrictions, and how to respond to moral distress in yourself and others. We hope that these resources serve to support you to be the clinician you want to be and to maintain your mission to serve those in need.


The Art of G.R.A.C.E - Dr. Rushton explores how to respond with compassion to families who are not able to visit a member in the hospital

Public Health Ethics: Coronavirus and The Moral Justification of "Shelter in Place" Policies 

Ethical issues in pandemic planning - The Medical Journal of Australia

Moral distress and resilience - Eleanor Stewart, PhD, Clinical Ethicist


What did I sign up for?

May 20, 2020 - Bridging the worlds between us

May 13, 2020 - Leveraging, and protecting the gift of loved ones

May 07, 2020 - Adding up all the costs of COVID-19

April 29, 2020 - Balancing multiple duties to care during COVID-19

April 24, 2020 - Upholding visitor restrictions for the benefit and safety of all