At Novant Health UVA Health System, we’ve established a formal communication channel called our ethics committee. The purpose of this group is to help you if you are called upon to make a difficult decision about life-sustaining treatment – either for yourself or a family member. We understand that a decision of this magnitude can often be a frightening and painful task. Yet, you have the right to make those decisions and to have the information needed to make them.
Openly communicating with your family, friends and our compassionate staff can lessen your fears and help relieve the burden that such decision-making may cause.
What is an ethics committee?
At Novant Health UVA Health System Haymarket and Prince William medical centers, the ethics committee is a group of professional people who are prepared to listen to your case objectively and bring their collective wisdom to it. They can help get all the facts you need to make a decision and they can offer feedback and suggestions. They will never come up with a final answer or tell you what to do. The ethics committee exists to help everyone involved make the best decision possible.
At Novant Health UVA Health System Culpeper Medical Center, the ethics committee is available to provide a neutral forum to explore ethical dilemmas and to assist in rational decision making.
Who is on the ethics committee?
The committee could potentially be made up of Novant Health UVA Health System physicians, nurses, the hospital chaplain (if available at your facility), representatives from medical social work, members of hospital administration and the general public. They all have been educated in medical ethics. Through the committee, members can bring their various perspectives together to help you make a decision that is right for you and your family.
What kinds of cases involve them?
The committee can become involved in any case involving ethical dilemmas that arise within the medical decisions about your care. You, your family member, physician or nurse can bring cases to the committee. All conversations are held in strictest confidence.
How do I contact the ethics committee?
Ask your nurse or doctor to contact the committee for you.
There are many reasons to have an ethics committee and many ways the committee can help you. There is no charge for the service; it is a resource that we offer to help you make decisions in difficult situations.
If you have additional questions about our ethics committee after reading this section, contact the Novant Health UVA Health System medical center nearest you.