Patients & Families

How can the Ethics Services team help you?

Difficult Decisions

If you are struggling to make choices about your own care, or that of someone you love, the ethicists at Providence Health Care Ethics Services can help.

We do this by helping you think about your values. Values are expressions of what is important to you. These values influence your health care decisions. For example, you might choose to live with more pain so that you are not sleepy from medications and can talk with your family.

Your health care team also has their own values and professional principles. For example, they will not offer treatment unless it will help you.

We can help you think about what values are most important to you and help you make decisions that best reflect your values. If you wish, we can do this with your care team.  We do not make decisions for you. Making decisions is up to you and your health care team.

When would you use Ethics Services?

There are many situations when you might find it helpful to talk with an ethicist. These are some examples:

When you are not sure what is the right choice for you or a loved one.

  • Mom has been sick a long time. We need to decide on treatments. What should I think about?
  • I feel sick and don’t know if I want any more chemotherapy. Should I stop?

When you and your care team have different ideas about what values are important, and what goals are possible.

  • How can I be sure my wishes about my health care will be respected?
  • The care team says that I shouldn’t feed my husband certain foods because he chokes and might get pneumonia. Don’t I get to decide what is best for him?
  • I don’t know if I agree with my Mom’s doctors about whether to put a feeding tube in. How should I decide?

When your loved one cannot make their own health care decisions and you must help.

  • My son has mental health problems and won’t take his medications. Can I force him to? Can the doctors?
  • My sister and I don’t agree about whether Dad should go to a nursing home. Who gets to decide?

Contact us to find out more about Ethics Services or to discuss your difficult decision.


You may also be interested in (links embedded below):

Who to contact with a compliment or complaint

Talking to someone from pastoral services

Requesting your health record

Safety during your stay