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Clinical Ethics Support for Healthcare Personnel: An Integrative Literature Review
Örebro University.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0068-943x
, University College in Southeast Norway, Drammen, Norway.
Örebro University.
Örebro University.
2017 (English)In: HEC Forum, ISSN 0956-2737, E-ISSN 1572-8498, Vol. 29, no 4, p. 313-346Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study describes which clinical ethics approaches are available to support healthcare personnel in clinical practice in terms of their construction, functions and goals. Healthcare personnel frequently face ethically difficult situations in the course of their work and these issues cover a wide range of areas from prenatal care to end-of-life care. Although various forms of clinical ethics support have been developed, to our knowledge there is a lack of review studies describing which ethics support approaches are available, how they are constructed and their goals in supporting healthcare personnel in clinical practice. This study engages in an integrative literature review. We searched for peer-reviewed academic articles written in English between 2000 and 2016 using specific Mesh terms and manual keywords in CINAHL, MEDLINE and Psych INFO databases. In total, 54 articles worldwide described clinical ethics support approaches that include clinical ethics consultation, clinical ethics committees, moral case deliberation, ethics rounds, ethics discussion groups, and ethics reflection groups. Clinical ethics consultation and clinical ethics committees have various roles and functions in different countries. They can provide healthcare personnel with advice and recommendations regarding the best course of action. Moral case deliberation, ethics rounds, ethics discussion groups and ethics reflection groups support the idea that group reflection increases insight into ethical issues. Clinical ethics support in the form of a ‘‘bottom-up’’ perspective might give healthcare personnel opportunities to think and reflect more than a ‘‘top-down’’ perspective. A ‘‘bottom-up’’ approach leaves the healthcare personnel with the moral responsibility for their choice of action in clinical practice, while a ‘‘top-down’’ approach risks removing such moral responsibility.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
HEC Forum: Springer London, 2017. Vol. 29, no 4, p. 313-346
National Category
Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-32540DOI: 10.1007/s10730-017-9325-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-32540DiVA, id: diva2:1426190
Available from: 2020-04-23 Created: 2020-04-23 Last updated: 2020-04-28Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Perspectives on clinical ethics support and ethically difficult situations: reflections and experiences
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Perspectives on clinical ethics support and ethically difficult situations: reflections and experiences
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Healthcare personnel encounter ethically difficult situations in their everyday work and clinical ethics support might be important to support healthcare personnel to deal with these situations. The overall aim of this thesis was to describe perspectives on clinical ethics support, experiences of being in ethically difficult situations and experiences of facilitating ethics reflection. Methods. Study I had a descriptive design in which research articles were reviewed (n=54). In study II audio-recorded moral case deliberation (n=70) in 10 Swedish workplaces in hospitals and community care were analysed. In study III interviews were conducted with facilitators (n=11) of moral case deliberation. Study IV used non-participant observation during three weeks as well as informal conversations with healthcare personnel (n=12) in community home healthcare. Results and conclusion. In study I, two perspectives emerged on clinical ethics support, a “Top-down” perspective, where an individual or a group of “experts” in ethics could recommend the best course of action and a “Bottom-up” perspective that allows healthcare personnel to manage ethically difficult situations through ethical reflections led by a facilitator. Studies II and IV showed how ethically difficult situations on different levels are often connected with emotions and uncertainties. Study III showed the role of the facilitator to be fundamental in creating a space for self-reflection among healthcare personnel. Study IV showed that healthcare personnel face complex demands and expectations from the healthcare organization regarding the provision of care as well as having to meet the needs of patients and their next-of-kin. To conclude, healthcare personnel needed to find a balance among demands and expectations in order to satisfy those stakeholders involved and they had to seek compromise. There is a need for clinical ethics support that helps healthcare personnel reflect individually and collectively on ethically difficult situations they encounter in their everyday clinical practice. From this standpoint, a “Bottom-up” perspective may reduce the risk of moral distress among healthcare personnel and promote care based on person-centred values.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro University, 2017. p. 94
National Category
Other Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:du-32567 (URN)978-91-7529-198-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-06-01, Örebro universitet, Gymnastikhuset, Hörsalen, 09:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2020-04-28 Created: 2020-04-28 Last updated: 2020-04-28Bibliographically approved

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