Northwood Ethics Committee

Guiding You Through Tough Decisions

If knowing what to do is unclear or you disagree on the best approach, maybe the Northwood Ethics Committee can help.

What is Ethics?

Ethics is about reflecting on our values and making decisions that are values-based. In healthcare settings, ethical questions arise when “the right thing to do” is unclear, or when people disagree about what is best for the client or the resident. If you’ve ever said… That isn’t fair. What does this person want? Is this what we should be doing? Are we doing the right thing? …then you’ve been thinking about ethics.

Why an Ethics Committee?

There are times when knowing what “the right thing to do” is unclear or we disagree on the best approach. Acting in an ethical way and “doing the best thing,” is everyone’s responsibility.

Examples of ethical dilemmas include:

How can the Ethics Committee help?

Northwood’s Ethics Committee is an interprofessional team made up of representatives from across the organization as well as a community representative, and family member. They are available for consultation on:

The Ethics Committee can help by providing a structured way to have discussions and deal with these and other ethical dilemmas.

How does the consultation process work?

The level and type of consultation will vary depending on the request. Some requests may involve information, education, or feedback, where others may require a facilitated discussed lead by a member of the Ethics Committee.

If you have an ethical question or concern contact the ethics committee at ethics@nwood.ns.ca or complete the referral form. The Ethics Committee will respond and arrange a time to meet and facilitate a discussion (if required).

What can I expect from the process?

All consultations are confidential, with the exception of information that is required to be reported under legislation (e.g. Protection for Persons in Care Act). The Ethics Committee’s role is advisory only. The Ethics Committee does not make decisions for others, but they do support those facing difficult choices by exploring all options. The final decision about a health-related issue lies with the client (or their legal representative) and their healthcare team. An ethics consultation does not take away the client’s or their substitute decision maker’s right to make choices and decisions about care.

Referring an issue to the Ethics Committee

If you would like to refer an issue to the Ethics Committee for consideration, please fill out the and mail to the Ethic’s Committee at your site:

Ethics Referral Form

Northwood’s Code of Ethics

Informed Choice

Here is a quick video about informed choice and how it fits into our person-centred model of care.