Ethical Care

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Patients, families, and healthcare teams making the best possible care decisions together 

What does ethical care mean?

Patients, families, and healthcare providers sometimes face decisions that involve morals, values, principles, and/or beliefs. 

Ethical care includes making decisions based on medical research and knowledge while considering your beliefs and wishes. This can mean that the best health care decision for one patient may not be the best decision for another. 

I feel that my beliefs and/or wishes have not been or were not considered in my health care. What can I do?

If you are not comfortable with any aspect of your care or your family member’s care:

  1. If you feel comfortable, share your concern with your care provider (or care team leader).
  2. Ask your care provider to share with you the reasons behind their care decisions and recommendations.
  3. Work with your care provider to explore other options, solutions and outcomes.
  4. Decide with your care provider what the best option is for you.
  5. If this process is not working, or you need help with this, you can contact the confidential Clinical Ethics Helpline at 1-866-995-3199 and leave a message, or email

I need help to address my ethical concern. Where do I get help?

The Ethics Resource team is available to help patients families and health care providers address their ethical concerns related to patient/client care through facilitated discussions.

Please call the confidential Clinical Ethics Helpline at 1-866-995-3199 and leave a message or email You will receive a response within 24 hours during business hours.

Framework for Ethical Decision Making 

To facilitate these difficult conversations, Island Health has chosen to use a framework that ensures we consider all important factors. 

This Framework is the Framework for Ethical Decision-Making. This was developed at the University of British Columbia by Michael McDonald and others and tested over many years in clinical practice.

Island Health has then developed an Ethical Decision-Making Workbook that outlines the steps of the ethical decision-making process using the framework as a guide. You may see the facilitator you work with, using part or all of this workbook at times during your conversations. If you have any questions about it, do not hesitate to ask questions and ask for further clarification.  

ethical framework