Patients and Visitors
Bioethics Consultation Service
The Bioethics Consultation Service at Montefiore helps patients, families and health professionals address difficult decisions about patient treatment. Healthcare decisions depend not only on medical information but also on the patient's religious, moral values and other preferences. These difficult decisions can stir up strong emotions, especially when not all those who are concerned about a patient agree about the best plan. Our Bioethics Consultation Service team listens to the voices of different participants, helps clarify values and works toward consensus and the resolution of conflict while respecting the different values of those involved.
We accept requests for consultation from anyone involved in the care of a particular patient, including patients and family members. Our services are free.
Issues Addressed by the Bioethics Consultation Service
Bioethics involves the analysis of moral and ethical issues that arise in the healthcare setting. Our trained consultants help people deal with issues like these:
- Who should make decisions for patients who cannot decide for themselves or communicate their wishes?
- What should patients do if suggested treatments are in conflict with the beliefs of their religion or culture?
- What should happen when there is strong disagreement or uncertainty about what is best for a patient?
- What should patients consider in agreeing to or in refusing treatment?
- When should life-prolonging treatments, such as feeding tubes or breathing machines, be started, continued or stopped?
How We Help
The key to making wise decisions at crucial times is focusing on what is best for the patient. As simple as that sounds, the best course of action is not always clear. A bioethics consultation is designed to help patients, family members, healthcare proxy agents and caregivers clarify issues and reach those decisions. Support may include:
- Meetings with our Bioethics Consultants who can counsel and guide the patient and family members through the decision-making process
- Educational materials that increase the patient/family's knowledge about healthcare decision making
- Help in resolving issues related to advance directives, such as a living will