Arkansas Children's Hospital (ACH) bring care, love, and hope to all its patients and their families. Sometimes, though, determining what care is best can lead to ethics/moral concerns about which direction to take and why. ACH recognizes the need to provide patients, families, and healthcare professionals a forum where ethical concerns can be discussed and reflected upon. Ethical concerns are often issues of values and interests that families want to see considered in the way that care is provided to their children. Further, healthcare professionals have responsibilities and obligations they must fulfill. Most of the time, family interests and physician responsibilities work well together, but at other times, problems can arise.
Some of the issues that can cause conflicts in caring for a patient may be spiritual in nature, others may be legal matters, but there are also basic philosophical, conceptual, or values issues that arise while developing and implementing care plans for our patients. These ethical issues need to be addressed in order to provide the best care.
ACH supports its ethical approach to healthcare through both its Clinical Ethics Consultation Service (CECS) and the Bioethics Advisory Committee (BAC).
The CECS is a service of the hospital staffed by trained individuals who provide both informal conversations and formal consults regarding the ethical care of patients, and ethics conversations and consultations can discuss either individual inpatient or outpatient cases. Any patient, family member, or hospital staff member can request a consult by calling the hospital operator, paging 501-405-8134, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The BAC has been in existence for more than 30 years and is made up of physicians, nurses, social workers, administrators, chaplains, and others from the ACH staff as well as community volunteers. The BAC pursues ethical development of policies and practices to support a culture of ethics in the institution. The committee also focuses on providing education to staff and others associated with ACH and pediatric care and provides oversight of the CECS. You can learn more about the BAC, its mission, and processes by contacting the committee co-chairs through the hospital's administrative offices.