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Healthcare Ethics Committee (HEC)

This course focuses on developing the knowledge and skill base necessary for being a successful healthcare ethics committee member.

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About this Course


Healthcare Ethics Committee (HEC) covers basic healthcare ethics committee attributes including general mission, varying structures, and membership, as well as the roles, responsibilities, and functions of HECs and case consultants. It discusses the main ethical theories and principles for healthcare ethics, and how HEC members can use these theoretical foundations to identify, analyze, and help resolve ethical issues.

It also addresses many common issues encountered by HECs including informed consent, advance directives, decision making for capacitated and incapacitated patients, end-of-life issues, medical confidentiality, neonatal and maternal-fetal ethics, and allocation.

It is primarily intended for current and prospective HEC members. It may also be useful to healthcare professionals who routinely have to identify, analyze, and resolve clinical ethics issues, as well as hospital, nursing home, and hospice administrators.

This course was authored by Ray Moseley, PhD at the College of Medicine of the University of Florida and peer-reviewed by experts.

Language Availability: English

Suggested Audiences: Health Ethics Committee (HEC) Members, Healthcare Administrators, Healthcare Professionals


Course Content


Toggle Content Introduction: Healthcare Ethics Committee (HEC) Course

Provides a brief overview of the HEC course.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 17023 (English)
Author(s): Ray Moseley, PhD - College of Medicine, University of Florida

Toggle Content Healthcare Ethics Committee (HEC): Definition, Mission, and Organizational Structure

Discusses the historical context, definition, major purposes, and basic structure of modern day HECs. It also covers aspects of HECs including organizational reporting structures, meeting details, budgets, and liability.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 17024 (English)
Author(s): Ray Moseley, PhD - College of Medicine, University of Florida

Toggle Content Healthcare Ethics Committee (HEC) Membership

Identifies who should serve on an HEC including their basic roles and ideal characteristics. It includes a discussion on a HEC’s optimal professional composition, the basic conflicts of interest that may arise while serving on a HEC, and membership terms/expectations.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 17025 (English)
Author(s): Ray Moseley, PhD - College of Medicine, University of Florida

Toggle Content Ethical Theories and Principles for Healthcare Ethics

Discusses how HEC members must understand ethical theories, principles, and arguments to be effective committee members. In addition, the major types of ethical theory, basic ethical rules and principles, and underlying ethical values that are useful in the healthcare setting are presented. It concludes with how the theoretical approach of an argument helps to evaluate the argument’s merit.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 17026 (English)
Author(s): Ray Moseley, PhD - College of Medicine, University of Florida

Toggle Content Ethical Problem Identification, Analysis, and Solving

Explains how HEC members apply their knowledge of ethical theories, principles, and arguments to identify, analyze, and resolve ethical issues in a healthcare setting. It guides the learner on how to distinguish ethical opinions from ethical positions, critique rationalization, recognize common fallacies in reasoning, and identify common types of bias in ethical analysis.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 17027 (English)
Author(s): Ray Moseley, PhD - College of Medicine, University of Florida

Toggle Content Informed Consent in the Clinical Setting

Discusses the importance of having a strong knowledge of clinical informed consent to assist healthcare professionals and/or patients/family members in clinical ethics. Included in the discussion are the elements of ethically and legally valid informed consent, historical and legal trends associated with the development of informed consent, major exceptions to informed consent, and methods of enhancing patient comprehension of information.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 17028 (English)
Author(s): Ray Moseley, PhD - College of Medicine, University of Florida

Toggle Content End-of-Life Issues: Capacitated Patients

Focuses on end-of-life issues for patients with decisional capacity. It covers how the legal history, culture of medicine, conflicting views of patients and their families/friends/healthcare providers, and potential for coercion in decision making have shaped these issues, and how HEC members’ expertise can support healthcare providers and patients in upholding patient values and choices about end-of-life care.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 17029 (English)
Author(s): Ray Moseley, PhD - College of Medicine, University of Florida

Toggle Content Advance Directives (Living Wills)

Discusses end-of-life issues for patients who have lost decisional capacity and advance directives (ADs) through which incapacitated patients can express their values and choices about end-of-life care. The AD discussion touches on the potential implications of honoring ADs, conditions required to implement an AD, common problems and conflicts that arise when honoring an AD, and major issues that cause AD ambiguity, all of which HEC members must understand to provide support on cases involving incapacitated patients.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 17030 (English)
Author(s): Ray Moseley, PhD - College of Medicine, University of Florida

Toggle Content Decision Making for Incapacitated Patients

Focuses on how decision makers (either patient-designated or state-designated) can assist in expressing the incapacitated patient’s values and choices on end-of-life care. Additionally, how HEC members can support healthcare professionals and decision makers by understanding the various standards of decision making (and their pros/cons), best practices for terminology and communication, and distinctions between actions such as withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatment are covered.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 17031 (English)
Author(s): Ray Moseley, PhD - College of Medicine, University of Florida

Toggle Content End-of-Life Issues: Cultural Issues, Medical Futility, and Resuscitation

Discusses how recognizing deeply rooted cultural and social perspectives, which often affect end-of-life decision making, are a key aspect of case deliberations for HEC members and ethics consultants. Included in the discussion are cultural views of death and dying, social influences on decision making and perceptions/expectations of medicine, spirituality/religion, medical futility, and many other factors that HEC members must understand.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 17032 (English)
Author(s): Ray Moseley, PhD - College of Medicine, University of Florida

Toggle Content End-of-Life Issues: Brain Death, Palliative Sedation, Physician-Assisted Suicide, and Other Related Issues

Addresses how brain death, palliative sedation, physician-assisted suicide, and other related issues raise significant and sometimes ethically controversial issues, which are often framed by emotional, religious, and cultural views. How HEC members, especially those who are involved in doing ethics consultation, need to understand these issues, and that they can clearly articulate things, like brain death, from other views of death and explain the reasoning for the distinction to healthcare providers and patient’s families is also detailed.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 17033 (English)
Author(s): Ray Moseley, PhD - College of Medicine, University of Florida

Toggle Content Medical Confidentiality

Describes how confidentiality of medical information is a fundamental value that is both supported in professional codes and in U.S. law. It also discusses how HEC members must understand the underlying reasons that support medical confidentiality in order to appreciate the ethical scope and challenges of an ethically optimal view of medical confidentiality.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 17034 (English)
Author(s): Ray Moseley, PhD - College of Medicine, University of Florida

Toggle Content Neonatal Ethics and Maternal-Fetal Ethical Issues

Addresses maternal-fetal issues, neonatal issues, and pediatric issues (after the neonatal period). It provides a background for understanding the conflicting values and choices, which cases involving these topics often present.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 17035 (English)
Author(s): Ray Moseley, PhD - College of Medicine, University of Florida

Toggle Content Overview of Allocation

Explains how HECs can help draw attention to local allocation issues, increasing fairness and consistency. It includes conceptual principles of distributive justice, the distinction between substantive and procedural justice, the use of allocation theories and material criteria, and concerns about bedside rationing.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 17036 (English)
Author(s): Ray Moseley, PhD - College of Medicine, University of Florida

Toggle Content Healthcare Ethics Committee (HEC) Educational Activities and Policy Development and Review

Describes the crucial role of clinical ethics education for HECs, healthcare staff, and community members. Included are opportunities for inter-organization collaboration in ethics education, ethics education resources, and types of needs assessments for designing and evaluating educational programs.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 17037 (English)
Author(s): Ray Moseley, PhD - College of Medicine, University of Florida

Toggle Content Clinical Ethics Consultation: Part 1

Discusses the HEC’s core consultation function, the various ethics consultation models including advantages and disadvantages, and examples of ethics consultations using models with differing emphases.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 17038 (English)
Author(s): Ray Moseley, PhD - College of Medicine, University of Florida

Toggle Content Clinical Ethics Consultation: Part 2

Describes the clinical ethics consultation system, challenges and complexities associated with carrying out ethics consultations, elements of ethics consultation recommendations, how to write an ethics note in the medical record, and how to gather quality and evaluation data for the ethics consult service.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 17039 (English)
Author(s): Ray Moseley, PhD - College of Medicine, University of Florida


FAQs


Toggle ContentWhat is the importance of HEC training?

HECs exist in hospitals, nursing homes, and hospices to help identify, analyze, and resolve ethical problems. These activities may occur through education, policy creation, or the facilitation of decision making in specific clinical cases. The primary emphasis of a HEC is problem solving. Therefore, HEC members must possess the knowledge and skill base necessary to serve this function.

Toggle ContentWhen should individuals consider taking the HEC course?

This course is suitable for learners seeking a resource that provides comprehensive education on what it takes to be a successful HEC member. There is no uniform standard for how frequently HEC training should occur. For a retraining (refresher) cycle, organizations should designate the frequency for their learner groups. Unlike other CITI Program courses, there is no “refresher” version available at this time, but learners can retake HEC or complete whatever subset of modules their organization has selected for them.

Toggle ContentHow is this course structured?

It consists of 17 modules that are meant to fulfill the varying educational needs of current and prospective HEC members. The modules contain detailed content, images, supplemental materials (such as, case studies), and a quiz. As case-based learning is imperative to HEC members, the case studies provide historical examples and hypothetical situations that allow learners to directly apply the concepts discussed. Learners may complete the modules at their own pace.

Toggle ContentWhat topics does HEC cover?

HEC covers basic committee attributes including general mission, varying structures, and membership, as well as the roles, responsibilities, and functions of HECs and case consultants. It discusses the main ethical theories and principles for healthcare ethics, and how HEC members can use these theoretical foundations to identify, analyze, and help resolve ethical issues. HEC also addresses many common issues encountered by HECs including informed consent, advance directives, decision making for capacitated and incapacitated patients, end-of-life issues, medical confidentiality, neonatal and maternal-fetal ethics, and allocation.

Toggle ContentWhat are the standard recommendations for HEC learner groups?

CITI Program allows organizations to customize their learner groups, which means they can choose the content modules their learners need to complete. We will work with your CITI Program designated admin to determine the learner groups that best fit your organizational needs.

The standard recommendation for the HEC course is to designate each module as required in a learner group. This helps to ensure a complete training for the learner. However, organizations may also elect to present certain modules as supplemental, particularly when the organizations provide specific training on the topic(s).

Toggle ContentWhat are the advantages of CITI Program’s HEC training?

HEC was developed and reviewed by industry experts to provide organizations and individuals with an educational resource that will allow learners to develop the knowledge and skill base necessary for being a successful HEC member. The author has over 30 years of experience in bioethics, law, and medical professionalism, including direct experience serving on HECs and conducting case consultations. Along with CITI Program's advantages, including our experience, customization options, cost effectiveness, and focus on organizational and learner needs, this makes it an excellent choice for HEC training.