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Tools for Ethics Committees

Ethics committees are important resources for healthcare staff when it comes to making difficult ethical decisions. Clinicians and administrators look to ethics committees for guidance and analysis of issues in health care.

The major functions of the ethics committees at sites, programs, health service organizations, and regions include:

  • Ethics education and capacity building
  • Policy review
  • Research access
  • Issue review and consultation

The importance and scope of these functions means that the members of committees need to have a basic understanding of ethical theory and be familiar and comfortable with the major concepts in bioethical decision making. A well-established committee has membership that has a good grounding in organizational policy, legal frameworks, and use of analytical tools such as ethical decision-making frameworks. As well, it will be important to be familiar with the kinds of ethical issues and situations that may arise in the committee's context, issues such as clinical (bedside) dilemmas, resource allocation problems, conflicts of interest, and values conflicts.

The resources in this section are intended for ethics committees who are well-established, or who are just starting.

Please contact us if you would like help getting your committee off the ground, or if you need resources specific to a particular issue or challenge.