Ethical Framework for Decision Making in Hospice and Palliative Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization has developed a new COVID-19 ethics toolkit, the Ethical Framework for Decision Making Guide, available free of charge on the NHPCO COVID-19 resource page, nhpco.org/coronavirus.
This toolkit can help providers anticipate difficult decisions, provide information and support to seriously ill individuals and their families, and connect seriously ill individuals to resources aligned with their goals of care.
The kit includes an ethical framework written by Rev. Dr. Carla Cheatham; information from a booklet on ethical considerations during a pandemic; NHPCO’s Shared Decision-Making tool; and discussion, symptom management, and comfort care tools from Dr. Mimi Pattison at CHI Franciscan.
The Ethical Framework for Decision Making Guide, drafted by members of NHPCO’s Ethics Advisory Council, is offered not in place of regulatory guidance from CMS, but as a tool to assist programs and professionals in having these critical conversations. Even when regulations are provided, all decision-making is best served when grounded in and structured by the ethics and values we are bound to uphold.
This ethical framework resource is not intended to be the final word on the matter but is offered as a starting point for an on-going and evolving dialogue.
“Here at NHPCO, we believe that community-based hospice and palliative care providers are a critical partner in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said NHPCO President and CEO Edo Banach.
NHPCO extends special thanks to the organization’s Ethics Advisory Council members for sharing their expertise.