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Am J Med. 1992 Apr;92(4):346-51.

Community hospital ethics consultation: evaluation and comparison with a university hospital service.

Author information

1
Center for Clinical Ethics, Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge, Illinois 60068.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Ethics consultants may improve patient care by responding to physician requests for assistance with problems they identify as ethical issues.

OBJECTIVE:

To examine three aspects of ethics consultation: the clinical questions asked; the helpfulness of the consultation to requesting physicians; and the differences between consultations performed at a community teaching hospital and those performed at a university hospital.

SETTINGS:

A community teaching hospital and a university teaching hospital.

SUBJECTS:

Physicians who formally requested ethics consultations in both hospitals and the patients for whom they requested them.

METHODS:

Over 2 years (January 1, 1988, to December 31, 1989), we prospectively evaluated a newly established clinical ethics consultation service in a community teaching hospital using confidentially completed, pretested, structured questionnaires, and compared our data with previously reported university hospital data.

RESULTS:

During the 2-year study, 104 consultation requests were received from 68 physicians in eight departments. Requesters most often requested consultation about deciding to forego life-sustaining treatment (74%), resolving disagreements (46%), and assessing patient competence (30%). Requesters found the consultation "very helpful" or "helpful" in one or more aspects of patient care in 86% of cases, or in one or more aspects of physician education in 86% of cases. These data are similar to university hospital data.

PMID:
1558080
DOI:
10.1016/0002-9343(92)90262-a
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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