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Ethics

Decisions in health care are increasingly complex for patients, families health care professionals and organizations. The Providence Center for Faith and Healing provides professional and community education in health care ethical, moral and legal decision making.

Educational resources include our library, monthly ethics conferences and regularly scheduled workshops. Ethics consultation and referral is available from the Medical Director; call (509) 474-3008 for more information.

The Center offers an internship in Applied Health Care Ethics to undergraduate and graduate students through the Philosophy department at Gonzaga University. This three-credit program is available during the fall, spring and summer semesters. Contact your advisor for more information, or to apply.

Ethical and Moral Perspectives Committee

This interdisciplinary committee, whose members include physicians, nurses, social workers, administrators, pastoral care staff and community representatives meets regularly to advise Sacred Heart’s administration on ethical and moral issues. Chaired by the hospital’s chief operating officer, the committee:

  • develops and provides ongoing education for Medical Center staff, and the community, on health care and organizational ethics;
  • develops and reviews policies related to ethical and moral concerns; and
  • assures that processes that guide ethical and moral decision-making (such as care conferences) are available to patients, families and staff.

Ethical and Religious Directives

Click here to read the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website.

Advance directives

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, Health Care Directives to Physicians and Living wills are all advance directives that help your loved ones and your health care providers know your wishes, especially about end-of-life care, when you cannot speak for yourself. You should bring a copy of your directives with you when you are admitted to the hospital. Hospital staff can help you complete directives if you so desire.

The Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form represents a way of summarizing wishes of an individual regarding life-sustaining treatment. The form is intended for any individual with an advanced life-limiting illness. The form accomplishes two major purposes:

  • It is portable from one care setting to another.
  • It translates wishes of an individual into actual physician orders.

The attending physician, nurse practitioner or PA-C should complete the document with the patient. The attending physician, ARNP or PA-C must sign the form and assume full responsibility for its accuracy. The POLST form facilitates the process of translating end-of-life discussions with patients into actual treatment decisions, and provides security for the individual and physician that the expressed wishes will be carried out. There is no other form that streamlines the process in this way.