Critical access hospitals (CAHs), like all hospitals, frequently encounter ethical challenges, ranging from individual patient care issues to much broader issues, including the economic survival of small rural health care facilities. One useful resource for addressing ethical issues that occur within a CAH is an ethics committee.
Unfortunately, for various reasons, ethics committees are less likely to exist in CAHs, compared to non-rural facilities. To address the need for the development of CAH ethics committees, and overcome the obstacles that may present themselves in this process, Drs. Nelson and Elliott have created the Critical Access Hospital Ethics Committee Resource Guide. The Guide will assist CAH leaders in developing an effective and useful resource for patients, clinicians and administrators in rural health care facilities. The Guide is based on the available research and real-life examples that highlight the challenging and all too familiar ethics conflicts common to rural settings. The Guide is also applicable for those CAHs that already have an ethics committee, but where the members and/or institutional leadership believe that the committee could enhance its effectiveness.
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