Ethics Consultation Service

Call: (360) 344-0417

Sometimes patients and their caregivers face difficult decisions.  The ethics consultation service is available to help patients, their loved ones, and the healthcare providers with  these tough choices and other ethical concerns.  These can include:
  • Help in understanding what patients want when they cannot speak for themselves.
  • Assistance in identifying the legal decision maker for a patient who cannot communicate.
  • Guidance with disagreement resolution among patients, families, and providers.
  • Facilitating communication about appropriate treatment options.
Any ethical concern or question about healthcare decisions and values can be discussed in a confidential ethics consultation.   All consultations are free of charge.

How does the ethics consultation service work?

Ethics consultants work to ensure everyone’s point of view is heard.  They provide a step by step process that involves the following.
  1. Gathering information from patient, care givers, and medical staff.
  2. Writing a summation of the concerns for review and acknowledgement by all parties.
  3. Determining the need for additional resources such as legal, medical, or other professional services
  4. Identifying the available options.
  5. Making recommendations for consideration.
  6. Recording ethics consultations relating to the patient’s medical care.

The ethics consultation service does not make treatment decisions.  Through the consultation process, the consultants offer a safe and confidential environment for open discussion about the patient’s welfare.
The patient, if unable to participate or communicate, will most often be represented by his/her decision-maker.  This person is responsible for providing information on the patient’s wishes as it relates to care and medical services. The ethics consultation process enhances communication and decision making in order to provide the best outcome for the patient. 

Advance Care Planning

Advance care planning is deciding on and documenting the types of medical treatments desired when you are unable to communicate for yourself.  There are forms available to record your preferences or to assign healthcare decisions to another person through durable power of attorney for healthcare.   In the absence of a recorded advance care plan, Washington State law provides that an appropriate relative or guardian can be appointed to make healthcare decisions on behalf of a patient who is unable to communicate.  For more information on advance care planning, go to our website page on Advance Directives .

Prepare for advance care planning by talking with the medical provider and gathering base information such as:
  • Name of condition, duration, and outcomes
  • Recommended treatments and options
  • Side effects of treatments and options
  • Outcomes without treatments
  • Variables to consider
For more information about the ethics consultation service or to request a free appointment, contact us at (360) 344-0417