Ethics Committee

The Ethics Committee assists patients, families, physicians, nurses, social workers, and other care givers in negotiating some of the difficult ethical, interpersonal and communicative dilemmas which arise in health care situations. Just as patient care is at the heart of our Mission as an institution, so too clinical consultation, as that which most directly touches patient care, is at the heart of our work as a committee. Further, as a cross disciplinary body, the ethics committee is tasked with the goal of listening to issues and concerns raised within the Wheaton Community and to consider ways in which this information can be used to improve patient care. Members of the ethics committee are available to assist with:

 1. Clinical Consultation

a. Analyzing and understanding ethical issues.
b. Providing confirmation and support for difficult choices.
c. Providing recommendations where appropriate.
d. Conflict resolution.
e. Assisting communication with patients and families.
f. Post-case review for quality improvement or policy issues.

2. Continuing Education
For care givers, patients, families, and the community.

3. Policy Development
To address issues and concerns raised by hospital personnel as related to ethical issues. (For example, the ethics committee helped advance an initiative clarifying the attending/consultant policy for patient care.)

4. Organizational/System Focus

a. To examine the delivery of health care throughout the organization.
b. To review processes impacting care delivery.
c. To promote integration of Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare System Mission, Vision and Values with policies and practices throughout the institution.
d. And to promote the alignment of policies and practices with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Healthcare Institutions.

Difficult Choices, Ethical Questions
Ethical choices are based on beliefs and values about life, health, suffering and death. When there are conflicts in such beliefs, be they between:

  • Patients and families
  • Patients and care givers
  • Within families
  • Families and care givers
  • Care givers                                             

The ethics committee can often help. To request an ethics consult, call the house supervisor at any hospital:
Covenant Medical Center/Mercy Hospital: 272-7473
Sartori Memorial Hospital: 274-4725
What is an Advance Directive?
An advance directive is a document that enables you to make medical decisions about your future. It is a way for you to say what you want done or not done if you become very sick or are in an accident and cannot speak for yourself. With Advance Directives, you are in control of your care even if you cannot communicate. Iowa law provides two types of advance directives: Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and Living Will. For more information about Advance Directives, click HERE.
Difficult Choices, Ethical Questions
Ethics Committee Members
Advance Directives for Health Care Decisions:
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
Living Will