Educational Resources - Ethics at Saint Francis

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Ethics at Saint Francis
Hospital and Medical Center

114 Woodland St
Hartford, Connecticut

Educational Seminars Occasionally Offered by
Ethics at Saint Francis

The mission of the Institutional Ethics Committee is fulfilled in part through educational and training events, grand rounds, and workshops. Below are full descriptions of those our consulting service currently provides. Sessions can be modified based on the needs of the institution or group. More sessions are available upon request. 

The Role and Function of Ethics Committees   Powerpoint >>
This session is designed for grand rounds or hospital-wide education frameworks. It presents what an ethics committee is not (to distinguish it from other committees such as IRB or Medical Morals), and it also presents the three essential functions of institutional ethics committees: education, consultation, and policy review. Participants design their own ethics committees, and engage in case study evaluation designed to help them determine when to call an ethics consult, and how they might participate in case consultation. The make-up and function of the ethics committee at the host institution can also be presented. 

The American Consensus on Withholding and Withdrawing Medical Treatment    Video >>
This session helps clarify one of the most frequently misunderstood foundations of medical care: the distinction between ordinary and extraordinary medical treatment. By focusing on the Three Pillars of Ordinary vs. Extraordinary Treatment, Killing vs. Allowing to Die, and Privacy, Liberty and Autonomy, this presentation helps healthcare providers, patients, and family members navigate through the important question of when it is legally and ethically permissible to withhold or withdraw medical treatment.

Navigating Informed Consent: Substituted Judgment or the Squeaky Wheel?   Powerpoint >>
This interactive session is designed for all who are involved in the consent negotiation with patients or surrogate decision-makers. The didactic segment focuses on key components of informed consent such as capacity, disclosure, comprehension, and voluntariness, as well as some of the common pitfalls healthcare providers confront in this process. The application segment allows participants to model and critique informed consent negotiations. 

The Nuts and Bolts of Ethics Consults
This session focuses on the actual process of ethics consultation. As such it is designed for those who are actively involved in clinical ethics consultation, or those members of the hospital staff who are considering getting involved in case consultation. Experience in the role, function, and framework of clinical ethics is preferable. The didactic session focuses on essential facets of ethics consultation, as well as the process for documenting consultations within the patient’s chart. The interactive session presents a role play of ethics consultation which participants can critique, as well as participant mock consultation in actual cases. This session pairs well as a follow-up to the Role and Function of Ethics Committees session.

Ethical Framework for Decision-Making in a Pandemic
This session focuses on the establishment of an ethical matrix for decision-making in the event of a pandemic. It also focuses on algorithms and frameworks for allocation of scarce resources in a pandemic event. Participants take part in a simulated pandemic exercise where ethical frameworks and algorithms are implemented in a crisis situation, with participants assuming various roles including those of patients, community members, healthcare providers, and review committee members.

Discussing Advance Directives: The Beginning of the Conversation   Powerpoint >>
This session is designed for all within the healthcare setting who are involved in discussing advance directives (AD’s) with patients. It can also be adapted as an informational session and presentation for nursing homes, churches, Veteran’s homes, or community outreach organizations. The didactic portion of this session discusses the purpose of an advance directive and how it is used in the clinical setting, as well as the different types of advance directives - living will and healthcare proxy, or combined forms. It also focuses on ethical frameworks which guide advance directives, and methods for discussing goals of care with patients. The interactive session involves participants in crafting their own advance directive, and discussing AD’s with patients.

The ERDs and Issues at the Origins and End of Life
Designed specifically for Catholic Health Care Services, this session focuses on key areas of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (5th Ed.) (ERDs). It presents the framework of the ERDs as rooted in the dignity of the person, and the right of patients to make decisions regarding care. It addresses the understanding and application of directives, focusing on origin-of-life issues such as genetic engineering, reproductive technologies, prenatal diagnosis and treatment, and abortion, as well as those that guide decisions on end-of-life care issues such as physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia, artificial nutrition, hydration and ventilation, medical futility, and organ donation. Participants are provided with case studies and asked to apply the ERDs to these cases.

Principles of Bioethics: Privacy, Autonomy, Justice, Beneficence, and Nonmaleficence
This presentation focuses on the foundational virtues of healthcare ethics, which are often used as a framework to guide ethical decisions in the clinical setting. These terms will be defined and applied to issues in heath care. Following the didactic session, participants will be asked to apply these virtues to case studies, and to resolve cases where virtues seem to conflict.

Keeping the Bucket Full: Spirituality for Health Care Providers   Powerpoint >>
Healthcare providers are often thrown into life-or-death situations on a daily basis. This can take its toll on one’s personal life and spirituality. How does the nurse whose patient died last night go home and get some sleep? How does the social worker who comforted the grieving spouse avoid burnout from helping everyone with their cares and concerns? How does the doctor who has lost the sense of purpose in her work because of all the insurance hassles regain a sense of joy in her vocation? This session can’t answer those questions, but it is designed to help healthcare providers develop some tools to 'keep their spiritual bucket full,' and to balance work and home, life and death, joy and sorrow. 

Ethics Links

Information about Advance Directives 

Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services 

National Catholic Bioethics Center 

Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University 

Resources for Discussing Goals of Care with Family and Health Care Providers