Ethics consult service (1599)

Key points below

For help when making difficult decisions

What is an ethical dilemma?

It can be hard to make decisions about your child’s health care. Some decisions may involve your values about what is best for your child and you. Sometimes, you may not know what is best for your child. You may have different ideas than your child’s health care team. Sometimes you have to make a choice but all the choices seem just as good or bad. This is called an “ethical dilemma.” These decisions can be stressful, scary, and confusing.

When facing an ethical dilemma, you might need time to think. You might want to talk to others for their help and advice. In some cases there is no right or wrong choice.

What is the Ethics Consult Service?

Children’s Wisconsin has an Ethics Advisory Committee. Members of this committee serve on an Ethics Consult Service. The Ethics Consult Service can help patients, families and health care providers with ethical decisions about a child's plan of care.

When would an ethics consult be helpful?

Choices about your child’s care are not always easy. An ethics consult may help if it is hard to figure out the best choice. Here are some examples:

Who are the Ethics Advisory Committee?

The Ethics Advisory Committee is made up of nurses, doctors, social workers, chaplains andcommunity members. They are concerned about ethics in children’s health care. They are not part of your child’s health care team.

How does an ethics consult work?

Most often, you will meet with a small number (3-5) of Ethics Advisory Committee members and members of your child’s health care team. They might include nurses, doctors, physical/occupational therapists, social workers, or chaplains. Members of the Ethics Consult Service group will:

The consult service group provides advice and does not take sides. The final decisions about the health care plan are between the patient, family and health care team.

Who can ask for an ethics consult?

Patients, parents, guardians, involved family members or the health care team can ask for an ethics consult.

Does the health care team support ethics consults?

Yes. Talking openly is important at our hospital. Your thoughts and worries should be respected by everyone on your child’s health care team. Asking for an ethics consult will not change how your child is treated. Talking with a group may help everyone to understand each other better.

How do I reach the Ethics Consult Service?

Will I be charged for the Ethics Consult Service?

There is no cost to you or your health care team for this service.

What do I do if I have questions after the ethics consult?

You may ask any member of your health care team. Or talk to the Ethics Consult Service team leader who was a part of your child’s ethics consult. You may also reach the Ethics Advisory Committee chairperson by calling Medical Staff Services at 414-266-2400.