Providing access to ethics expertise
The Department of Bioethics is involved in a number of long-standing ethics collaborations in order to contribute to better patient care. This is achieved in part by enhancing the ability of health care providers, leaders, government and community members to engage with the complex ethics issues that arise in health care. The collaborations also help ensure policies and processes are developed to address these issues in a comprehensive, fair and equitable manner.
The collaborations between the department and the Nova Scotia Health Authority (a provincial health authority that consists of the previous nine health districts) and the IWK Health Centre (a maternal-pediatric tertiary-care hospital) each provide access to ethics expertise and support for these health organizations.
The Nova Scotia Health Ethics Network, with the Department of Bioethics as a full partner, has further increased the opportunities for networking and building ethics capacity across the province. Finally, an ongoing collaboration with the Bermuda Hospitals Board Ethics Committee further builds on this approach to ethics support.
Ethics collaborations team
The ethics collaborations team consists of Drs. Christy Simpson, Marika Warren, and Jeff Kirby; and others may be involved depending on their availability and interests. Committed to building ethics capacity, the team provides leadership and ethics support for a broad range of activities related to these collaborations.
Specific collaboration initiatives
Collaboration with Nova Scotia Health Authority
Ethics NSHA actively contributes to building competence and confidence in identifying and addressing ethics-related issues. Support provided includes clinical and organizational ethics consultations, ethics education, and policy development and review. In 2012, the Capital Health Ethics Support model (in one former health districts) was designated a Leading Practice by Accreditation Canada.
Collaboration with the IWK Health Centre
The Ethics Committee and Clinical Ethics Consultation team are both available to assist in addressing ethics questions and issues. In response to an identified need, an Ethics Tool for Patients and Families was recently developed. It was also named as a Leading Practice by Accreditation Canada in 2011.
Collaboration with the Nova Scotia Health Ethics Network (NSHEN)
NSHEN is a collaboration between the Department of Bioethics (on behalf of Dalhousie University), the Nova Scotia Health Authority, the IWK Health Centre, and the provincial Department of Health and Wellness.
NSHEN’s mandate of building ethics capacity throughout the province is carried out through education, assistance with policy development, support for clinical ethics consultation and a focus on organizational ethics analyses. NSHEN encourages networking and sharing of expertise across the province and is committed to developing innovative ways of responding to ethics needs at a variety of levels.
Collaboration with Bermuda Hospital's Board Ethics Committee (BHBEC)
The partnership between the BHBEC and the Department of Bioethics continues to flourish, with a regular Ethics Week each year and ongoing education and training in ethics, both for the Ethics Committee and for health care providers at Bermuda’s health facilities.