Bioethics

Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) supports ethical practice when providing quality healthcare. In our everyday work we aim to live out the hospital's values of Compassion, Integrity, Courage and Accountability, which include caring and respect.

Bioethics helps with discussions when patients, families and healthcare professionals face tough moral or value-based decisions. 

The term ‘bioethics’ refers to the area of knowledge and study of ethics in biology and medicine.

When are we talking bioethics?

  • When someone says “it does not seem right or fair”
  • When people cannot agree on what should be done
  • When someone has a sick feeling about a course of action
  • When people cannot decide what to do
  • When people want to explore why we are doing something
  • When one person’s values are not the same as those of another person
  • When someone wants help to explain a decision.

How do I contact a Bioethicist?

Anyone involved in the patient's care may ask for help from a bioethicist. This includes the patient, family members of the patient, or members of the healthcare team.

You may ask to speak to a member of the bioethics team by:

  • Asking a member of the healthcare team to contact a bioethicist
  • Calling Locating at 416-469-6580 ext. 6333 to ask for a bioethicist
  • Emailing @email
  • Contacting a bioethicist by email:

What is the role of the bioethicist?

Michael Garron Hospital's bioethicists have advanced training in ethics. They can help to:

  • clarify ethical issues and facts
  • explore other perspectives and values
  • make clear the patient’s goals, values and wishes
  • review options
  • mediate and resolve conflicts
  • support good processes for making decisions
  • help everyone agree on the right course of action
  • explain why the decision is the right one.

Bioethicists are also involved with:

  • research ethics issues
  • Policies and guidelines about how decisions are made
  • Educating patients, families, and health care professionals about ethical issues in patient care.

What are some examples where bioethics could help?

  • There is disagreement about the appropriate care or discharge plan
  • There are difficult life and death decisions like inserting feeding tubes in patients with advanced dementia or removing life sustaining measures in the intensive care unit
  • The patient has questions about medical assistance in dying
  • Someone has questions about who should make the decision about treatment when the patient is no longer able to make the decision
  • The Substitute Decision Maker needs help to understand their role making decisions for an incapable patient.

Resources:

Learn more about bioethics Topics

There are many ethics resources available on the internet. Here is a list of some resources that we find helpful.

Advance Care​​ Planning

Speak-up Ontario, materials for advance care planning

Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, How Powers of Attorney Work

Powers of Attorney Forms and Booklet from the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee

Consent and Capacity

Health Care Consent Act, 1996. Ontario legislation which helps to enhance the autonomy of persons by providing rules for determining capacity in treatment decisions and for obtaining informed, voluntary consent from either the capable patient or his or her substitute decision maker (SDM).

Aid to Capacity Evaluation Tool, a tool which helps clinicians systematically evaluate capacity when a patient is facing a medical decision.

Consent and Capacity Board (CCB)an independent provincial tribunal. The CCB's key areas of activity are the adjudication of matters of capacity, consent, civil committal, and substitute decision making.

Decisions by the Consent and Capacity Board

Judith Wahl and Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, Health Care Consent Act and Substitute Decisions Act – 25 Misconceptions, 2002

Decision-Making Guides for Patients

Ottawa Health Research Institute, Ottawa Personal Decision Guide for People Making Health or Social Decisions

End of Life

Dying with Dignity, a national human-rights charity committed to improving quality of dying, protecting end-of-life rights.

Organ Transplantation

Trillium Gift of Life Network, the Government of Ontario agency responsible for delivering and coordinating organ and tissue donation and transplantation services across the province.

Medical Assistance in Dying

Government of Ontario, Medical assistance in dying and endoflife decisions

Mental Health

Centre for Addiction & Mental Health provides a wide range of clinical care services from assessment to brief interventions, inpatient programs, day hospital services, continuing care, outpatient services and family support.

Ontario Health Association, A Practical Guide to Mental Health and the Law in Ontario, 2016

Ontario Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office, and InfoGuides

Pandemic Planning and COVID-19 Updates

City of Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Updates

Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Emergency Planning and Preparedness

Privacy

 

Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario
 

Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, A Guide to the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004.

Senior’s Rights

Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, a community based legal clinic for low income senior citizens

Elder Abuse Prevention Ontario, Know your Rights

Substitute Decision-Making

Substitute Decisions Act, 1992. Ontario legislation which establishes the legal criteria determining when a person has the ability to make decisions (apart from healthcare decisions) that are fundamental to his/her well-being.

 

Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario, A Guide to the Substitute Decisions Act, 2000

 

Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee, and the role of the PGT

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