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The first nationwide study on facing and solving ethical dilemmas among healthcare professionals in Slovenia
ID Grosek, Štefan (Author), ID Kučan, Rok (Author), ID Grošelj, Jon (Author), ID Oražem, Miha (Author), ID Grošelj, Urh (Author), ID Erčulj, Vanja Ida (Author), ID Lajovic, Jaro (Author), ID Borovečki, Ana (Author), ID Ivanc, Blaž (Author)

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Abstract
Background Healthcare professionals (HCPs), patients and families are often faced with ethical dilemmas. The role of healthcare ethics committees (HECs) is to offer support in these situations. Aim The primary objective was to study how often HCPs encounter ethical dilemmas. The secondary objective was to identify the main types of ethical dilemmas encountered and how HCPs solve them. Subjects and methods We conducted a cross-sectional, survey-based study among HCPs in 14 Slovenian hospitals. A questionnaire was designed and validated by HCPs who were selected by proportional stratified sampling. Data collection took place between April 2015 and April 2016. Results The final sample size was n = 485 (385 or 79.4%, female). The response rates for HCPs working in secondary and tertiary level institutions were 45% and 51%, respectively. Three hundred and forty (70.4%) of 485 HCPs (very) frequently encountered ethical dilemmas. Frequent ethical dilemmas were waiting periods for diagnostics or treatment, suboptimal working conditions due to poor interpersonal relations on the ward, preserving patients’ dignity, and relations between HCPs and patients. Physicians and nurses working in secondary level institutions, compared to their colleagues working in tertiary level institutions, more frequently encountered ethical dilemmas with respect to preserving patients’ dignity, protecting patients’ information, and relations between HCPs and patients. In terms of solutions, all HCPs most frequently discussed ethical dilemmas with co-workers (colleagues), and with the head of the department. According to HCPs, the most important role of HECs is staff education, followed by improving communication, and reviewing difficult ethical cases. Conclusions Waiting periods for diagnostics and treatment and suboptimal working conditions due to poor interpersonal relations are considered to be among the most important ethical issues by HCPs in Slovenian hospitals. The most important role of HECs is staff education, improving communication, and reviewing difficult ethical cases.

Language:English
Keywords:healthcare professionals, ethical dilemmas, healthcare ethics committees, waiting periods for diagnostics, waiting periods for treatment, interpersonal relations, Slovenia
Work type:Article
Typology:1.01 - Original Scientific Article
Organization:ZF - Faculty of Health Sciences
Publication status:Published
Publication version:Version of Record
Year:2020
Number of pages:Str. 1-20
Numbering:Vol. 15, no. 7
PID:20.500.12556/RUL-117558 This link opens in a new window
UDC:614.2:174
ISSN on article:1932-6203
DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0235509 This link opens in a new window
COBISS.SI-ID:22649091 This link opens in a new window
Publication date in RUL:16.07.2020
Views:976
Downloads:502
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Record is a part of a journal

Title:PloS one
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN:1932-6203
COBISS.SI-ID:2005896 This link opens in a new window

Licences

License:CC BY 4.0, Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Link:http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Description:This is the standard Creative Commons license that gives others maximum freedom to do what they want with the work as long as they credit the author.
Licensing start date:16.07.2020

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