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Unity’s Ethics Consultation Service

Unity’s Ethics Consultation Service is available to help when patients, families or their providers encounter ethical dilemmas during the course of medical care. Ethical dilemmas arise when patients, families and providers are trying to make difficult decisions for which there is no one “right” or “wrong” choice. A team, made up of members of Unity’s Ethics Committee, conducts the consultations. The committee members include physicians and resident physicians, nurses, social workers, nutritionists, spiritual care and health law attorneys who have a special interest in ethics.

When should I consider an ethics consultation? 
We encourage you to first discuss challenging decisions with your Attending Physician and members of your treatment team. When decisions cannot be easily or comfortably made at that level, an ethics consultation may be called to help clarify a direction when people involved in a patient’s care are struggling to define a course that is consistent with a person’s best interests and sensitive to his or her attitudes, beliefs and wishes about health care. End-of-life care, artificial nutrition and balancing spiritual/religious beliefs with an effective care plan are just some examples of ethical issues that might lead to a request for consultation.

How do I request an ethics consultation? 
You may request an ethics consultation through any member of the treatment team, including the Attending Physician, Resident Physician, Nursing or Social Work staff. If for some reason you are not comfortable making the request through the treatment team, you may call the Medical Director’s Office during regular business hours. After hours, weekends and holidays, you may page the Ethics Committee member on call.

Medical Director’s Office: (585) 723- 7057
Ethics Committee On-call Pager (585) 936-2215 (enter your call back number after the tone)

What feedback can I expect from an ethics consult? 
A member of the Ethics Committee will contact you to obtain information. This person will facilitate the consultation and become your point of contact. When an ethics consultation is requested, the Attending Physician is notified, invited to participate in the consultation, and provided with recommendations that result from the consultation. Confidentiality and information privacy rules determine what information can be shared with anyone other than the patient.

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