ETHICS COMMITTEE INFORMATION
What is ‘Ethics’?
Everything we do, either in our professional or personal life, has an ethical implication.
Generally, people make decisions based on their individual values and beliefs. When choosing what is ethically acceptable, people consider the possible options and their consequences, based on the values and principles that are important in their lives.
Similarly, healthcare organizations do not simply follow the existing rules; rather, they consider their own values, the values of the people they serve, and potential harms and benefits for the patients/clients.
The value-laden nature of healthcare sometimes results in highly charged conflict situations. Such situations often have significant consequences, and result in ethical dilemmas. It is important to address both the questions and signs of ethical issues:
What should be done? “Yuck” factor
Why should it be done? Moral Uncertainty
How should it be done? Conflict
Who should do it? Competing “goods” or “bads”, not right vs. wrong
What is the Ethics Committee?
Simply put, the Ethics Committee’s role is to monitor and provide feedback related to the agency’s compliance with its Ethics Framework – including ethical guidelines and processes
- It promotes addressing ethical conflicts, issues or concerns in a consistent, educated and supportive process
- The committee does not oversee the organization, agency staff, executive director or policies. It provides recommendations to the CMHA Management Team and reports directly to the Quality Improvement Committee.
What will the Ethics Committee do?
The Committee’s role is to monitor and provide recommendations to Management and the Quality Improvement Committee on the effectiveness of the agency in appropriately addressing ethical issues or dilemmas.
- Consider and make recommendations to Management, as necessary, related to the content and application of the Ethics Framework (policy) and ongoing improvement of the process;
- Ensure ethical issues, as they arise, are addressed in an appropriate and timely fashion;
- Review and provide feedback / recommendations on specific ethical issues or dilemmas as they arise;
- Ensure ethics awareness is embedded in the culture of the agency
What is expected of me?
- Committee members will provide input at meetings and follow the Terms of Reference set out for the Ethics Committee
- Attend meetings as scheduled and participate
- Respect the confidentiality of information that is shared within committee meetings
What is the time commitment?
- The Ethics Committee meets between 2 to 6 times per year, or as directed by the Chair
- Sitting on the committee is voluntary and you may step down at any time
Benefits of being on the committee:
- The Committee receives input from a variety of individuals involved with the agency
- Excellent opportunity for personal development
- Increased knowledge of ethics, the organization and its goals and objectives
- Sharing of knowledge and experience
- Promotion of wellbeing
Please contact John Ranger, Assistant Executive Director, to express interest or ask any questions you may have:
Ethics Committee Terms of Reference (DRAFT)
Definition of Stakeholder: In this document, the term ‘stakeholder’ refers to Clients, Family Members, Employees, Volunteers, Students, other Healthcare Professionals and other involved community members.
The Ethics Committee shall serve as a resource for CMHA BHN regarding ethical issues and the organization’s ethical responsibilities. These aims are served through the operation of an agency committee for review of ethics education, ethics policy development and review (i.e. monitor the Code of Ethics), ethics performance improvement, and ethics consultation.
The committee’s authority and purpose is described in the Ethics Framework Operational Policy & Procedures document.
- Ensure agency Policy & Procedure compliance with Accreditation Canada standards related to Ethics
- To provide a supportive advisory forum whereby the agency may effectively address ethical concerns/issues identified by stakeholders
- Reviewing and making recommendations to the Management and/or Board of Directors regarding the development of the agency’s Ethics Framework, Policies, Procedures, protocols and guidelines within the defined mandate of the committee
- Reviewing reported ethical issues and recommending action towards resolution that improves the quality of care and services delivered
- Abiding by the Mission, Vision, Values, Mandate, and the Strategic Plan of the organization
- Ensuring and reviewing mechanisms for stakeholders to identify and report perceived or actual ethical issues
- Committee members will respect and maintain the confidentiality of deliberations within the Ethics Committee
- Reviewing, promoting and recommending continuing education related to ethics for all stakeholders
- Being available in a consultative capacity on specific ethical issues as necessary
- Establishing and monitoring ethics indicators
- Reviewing the Agency’s Ethics Standards (as defined by the Accreditation body and known ethics best practice) and providing feedback and recommendations to management related to agency compliance
- Completing an annual ethics framework evaluation , including but not limited to;
- Reviewing the Agency’s Code of Ethics
- Identifying overall strengths and weaknesses of the committee’s functioning
- Recommending strategies to address gaps
- Preparing a report to the QIC and/or the Board
- Establish and monitor Committee size and membership to ensure effective functionality
- Choose and/or elect a Chair from the body of the Committee members
Membership of Ethics Committee
Recommended membership may include a combination of the following:
- The Executive Director and/or designated Manager(s)
- One or more Board members (preferably with ethics knowledge or experience)
- One active member of the Quality Improvement Committee
- Staff members representing various CMHA BHN programs, including but not limited to a minimum of 2 (two) ‘front-line’ direct service provision employees; effort will be made to balance representation between Brant and Haldimand-Norfolk sites when possible
- One or more stakeholders preferably with an ethics background and/or interest, and to include at least one client or family member
Committee membership, including the Chair position, will be reviewed by the committee a minimum of once every two years. Sitting members will have the option to remain involved unless the committee determines otherwise. The committee recognizes the benefit of rotating membership, while maintaining a core of experienced members, where possible.
Addressing Committee Related Issues:
Any concerns from a committee member or members relating to an issue, decision or process of the Ethics Committee, should be discussed at an Ethics Committee Meeting or involve the entire Ethics Committee Membership. If this is not a viable option from the perspective of the committee member, then a private discussion with the Chair of the committee may be arranged. Where possible, the chair will respect the confidentiality of such private discussions, but the issue(s) may require further consultation with the Ethics Committee members, or the Committee itself, to resolve the issue(s) at the discretion of the Chair.
Reporting & Accountability
Reporting and Accountability is outlined in the CMHA BHN Ethics Framework Operational Policy & Procedures document.
The Committee will meet a minimum of twice annually, as well as ad-hoc as required (ie: requested consultation on unresolved issues or a large number of issues requiring review).