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Ethics involves determining the best course of action when presented with difficult moral or values-based choices. At Southlake, our Ethics Team supports those facing such choices by helping them think through the various aspects of the decision and developing options for action. The options are then compared with each other to determine which option is the best in the given situation.
Making Your Wishes Known About Goals of Care, Especially at the End of Life

The Ethics Service

An Ethicist and a group of Ethics Facilitators respond to requests for consults, education, and awareness-raising. Our Ethicist is available at 905-895-4521, ext. 6425. The Ethics Facilitators are members of staff with other primary professional roles who have had additional training in facilitating ethical reflection. We support staff, physicians, patients and families to support ethical decision-making throughout the hospital.

Requests for consultation or education

Requests can be made by patients, families, and members of the healthcare team:
  • During regular business hours, call the Southlake Ethicist by calling 905- 895-4521, ext. 6425. If it is urgent, you can call Locating at ext. 2216 and ask to have the Ethicist paged.

  • During non-business hours, call ext. 2216 (Locating) and ask them to page the Administrator-on-call

  • Email the Ethicist at ethx@southlakeregional.org

The Hospital Ethics Committee

The Hospital Ethics Committee is a team made up of staff from key areas around the hospital and a community representative. Its role is to support the Ethicist and Facilitators to help the Ethics Service build Southlake’s abilities to identify and respond to ethical issues everywhere they appear.

The Ethics Service contributes to quality patient care by providing:

  • confidential consultation and support to patients, families and health care providers when facing difficult ethical issues in patient care
  • education to enhance staff's awareness and understanding of ethical issues in healthcare
  • policy guidelines and suggestions in areas of ethical concern
  • debriefs with staff to review recent patient care issues for educational purposes and to reflect on the ethical decisions made

What Ethical issues can the Ethics Service help with?

  • A person's capacity (as described in the Health Care Consent Act, 1996) to consent to, or refuse, a proposed treatment plan or prosposed change to a treatment plan
  • Substitute decision-making (where a person is incapable according to a practitioner as described in the Health Care Act, 1995) 
  • Discussing goals of care, especially at the end of life; advance directives/resuscitation choices 
  • Making difficult treatment decisions, especially where there is disagreement between patient, family members and/or the healthcare team
  • resource allocation
  • research ethics
  • other care delivery issues involving value choices 

IDEA – Ethical Decision Making Framework

This is one of many tools to help guide decisions that involve complex ethical issues.

Click here to download the IDEA ethical decision making framework work sheet

Privacy and Confidentiality
  • The Ethics Service team members are bound by hospital policies regarding privacy and confidentiality
  • All records of consultation are kept  confidential where requested, within the limits of the law
Southlake Regional Health Centre
596 Davis Drive, Newmarket, Ontario   L3Y 2P9
Tel: 905-895-4521   |   TTY: 905-952-3062
Copyright © 2012 Southlake Regional Health Centre