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Take the medical ethics discussion to the people
Winona Health offers ethical support to members
Medical ethics is not the typical topic of free community health discussions, but the staff at Winona (MN) Health's Home Care and Hospice, as well as Senior Services, have found a welcoming audience for the talk.
"We had 12 people register for the program, then had a number of other health care providers come to the talk," recalls Mary Miller-Hyland, RN, BBA, NHA, administrator of Senior Services. The speakers talked about professional conduct, advocating for patients' rights, and the importance of advance directives. "Other people, who did not attend the program, contacted members of our ethics committee with questions," she adds. Information about the ethics committee at Winona Health was distributed with contact information for members of the committee.
Although staff members regularly receive information about resources available through the ethics committee, Miller-Hyland believes that hospice agencies and other health care providers should let community members know that there is support for them as they face ethical dilemmas with decisions about family members. "Our goal is to help people have peace of mind about the decisions they make, and the best way to achieve that goal is to get folks together to talk about the issues," she says. "Having an objective, third party lead the discussion can make the discussion more productive."