Ethical Framework for Health Care Institutions Responding to Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19): Guidelines for Institutional Ethics Services Responding to COVID-19   [open pdf - 315KB]

From the Summary: "An ethically sound framework for health care during public health emergencies must balance the patient-centered duty of care--the focus of clinical ethics under normal conditions--with public-focused duties to promote equality of persons and equity in distribution of risks and benefits in society--the focus of public health ethics. Because physicians, nurses, and other clinicians are trained to care for individuals, the shift from patient-centered practice to patient care guided by public health considerations creates great tension, especially for clinicians unaccustomed to working under emergency conditions with scarce resources. This document is designed for use within a health care institution's preparedness work, supplementing public health and clinical practice guidance on COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019]. It aims to help structure ongoing discussion of significant, foreseeable ethical concerns arising under contingency levels of care and potentially crisis standards of care. Its method is to [1] pose practical questions that administrators and clinicians may not yet have considered and support real-time reflection and review of policy and processes; [2] explain three duties of health care leaders during a public health emergency: to plan, to safeguard, and to guide; and [3] offer detailed guidelines to help hospital ethics committees and clinical ethics consultation (CEC) services quickly prepare to support clinicians who are caring for patients under contingency levels of care and, potentially, crisis standards of care."

2020 The Hastings Center. Posted here with permission. Document is under a Creative Commons license and requires proper attribution and noncommercial use to be shared: [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/]
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