Ethics for Physiotherapists
What is Ethics?
Ethics involves consideration of value systems and morals in deciding what is right and what is wrong. Sometimes it is hard to know what “the right thing” is when competing values exist. When figuring out what to do in difficult situations, it is important to be aware of your own values as well as the values of other stakeholders such as the client, the clinic, or the profession. We all carry biases and assumptions that influence how we make decisions.
Ethical dilemma result when conflict exists between ethical principles. Common themes that create ethical dilemma include thoughts around respecting autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, justice, health equity, and fairness.
Not all conflicts represent ethical dilemmas. Sometimes, issues can be resolved by following governing policies and procedures, even if we don’t necessarily agree with them. For example, what should a therapist do if the daughter of an older gentleman under treatment calls the clinic to see if her father is still there? This might seem like an ethical dilemma, but PHIA principles guard against giving out
Role of CPM’s Ethics Committee
Our committee currently consists of CPM members who have a special interest in ethics and supporting ethical practice.
The mandate of our committee is to:
- Identify opportunities for promoting ethical practice in the physiotherapy community (college members) which reflects values of our Code of Ethics.
- Provide a forum to encourage reflection and learning about the ethical dimensions of physiotherapy practice.
- Discuss and facilitate the application of an ethical lens to the development, revision and implementation of policies and practice directions.
The role of the Ethics Committee is not to judge issues that arise, but rather to provide resources to help guide clinicians to make their own decisions while keeping ethics in mind. Our committee welcomes ideas of ethical issues from the membership and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.