Ethics Committee - UnityPoint Health - Meriter Hospital
Health care ethics focuses on doing the right thing in health care. Meriter's Ethics Committee is a group of people from diverse backgrounds who work to resolve ethical issues. Members are from Meriter's staff and the community. They may be doctors, nurses, social workers, clergy, lawyers, and more. All members participate in ethics education.
FAQ & Committee Information
Have you ever had to make a decision, but you weren't sure what the right choice was? Have you ever been in a situation that just didn't seem right? Perhaps someone was suggesting something, but your gut was telling you something else. An ethical dilemma is what happens when someone isn't sure what the right thing to do is. Health care is complex. Sometimes the best choice isn't clear.
Examples of ethical dilemmas are:
- Does the benefit outweigh the risk of a certain plan or procedure?
- What is the best health care choice for me or my loved one?
- How do we decide on a plan for someone who can't speak for themselves?
- What should we do if family members disagree about how to best care for their loved one?
Patients, family members, or any member of the health care team can ask to talk to an ethics consultant.
When you call the consultant, they will talk to you about your concerns and help you figure out the next steps. Sometimes, that conversation is enough to decide what to do. Other times, more discussion is needed. The consultant may decide an ethics consult meeting with more members of the ethics committee will help. This meeting will also include other people who are important in your health care decisions such as your health care team and your family. At an ethics consult meeting:
- An ethics consultant will facilitate the meeting.
- Ethics Committee members, the health care team, the patient, and/or the family will talk about the ethical concern and possible solutions.
- The ethics consultant will make sure each person has a chance to speak.
- The Ethics Committee will make recommendations.
- The patient and their health care team will make the final decision. This may happen after the meeting.
- A follow up discussion or meeting may be planned.
Contact the Office of Continuing Professional Development at (608) 417-6538 to request copies of the following:
- A Process for Resolving Ethical Dilemmas
- Information about prior ethics conferences
Contacting an Ethics Consultant
To speak to a consultant, please contact the Ethics Committee in one of the ways below. If you are a patient or family member, you can ask someone from your health care team for help.