Ethics Committee Articles
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 information without client consent. Even if we find guidance in laws and policies, this doesn’t change the fact that we feel moral distress when presented with such issues.
Browse the following articles developed by the Ethics Committee
Developed by the Ethics Committee of the College of Physiotherapists of Manitoba in 2018, “Beyond the Techniques”, is a physiotherapy focused Ethics Education presentation.
Conflicting Priorities and Moral Distress
Often physiotherapists feel like there are too many patients to see with too little time. And there’s so much charting to do, therapists can’t get their charting done and see all their patients. What is a therapist to do?
From a biomedical perspective, you don’t think that your physical treatment is changing anything, yet Mrs. Smith insists on booking her regular tune-ups. How do you deal with this?
Mrs. Smith just had a total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and she has no private insurance to cover the costs of post-op rehabilitation.
Would you believe that a healthcare professional could lose their job for presenting a derogatory personal opinion on an on-line rating site (e.g. Yelp) or for exhibiting exaggerated angry behaviour that was caught on camera?
The Ethics Committee used an Ethical Decision-Making Framework developed by the Manitoba Provincial Health Ethics Network to discuss and frame different values related to advertising.
Managing conflicting priorities has been a part of every Physiotherapist’s practice since our first student placements. The pandemic has taken this daily juggle for many to an entirely new level.
I Really Should Do Something About This
As regulated professionals, we have an ethical responsibility to take steps to ensure safety and excellence in caring for our clients.
No Mask – No Service: Is It Really As Simple As That?
Provision of care during the pandemic has bestowed upon us the added responsibility of ensuring that public health orders are upheld.