Kings Regional Rehabilitation Centre serves a diverse clientele with increasingly complex needs. Staff face challenges on a daily basis. While they may not always recognize it, the challenges frequently relate to ethics, and the application of ethical values and principles. Ethics addresses the question, “What should we do and why?”
Ethical issues are common in the health and continuing care sector. Staff have a sincere desire to serve the clients’ best interest, but it is not always clear or straight forward how to do this. Every individual looks at situations through a slightly different lens depending on their background, personal values, education, and experience.
The ‘rules’ that guide social behaviour, government legislation, and policies are constantly changing to reflect new perspectives. An example is the increased emphasis in recent years on individual rights and the rights of persons with disabilities.
Ethical decision-making and practice requires the integration of ethical values and principles at all levels of the organization from the Board, to Directors and Managers to Front-line Staff.
KRRC has an Ethics Committee which reports to the Board of Directors. Members include Board Members, staff, and community representatives who bring specific expertise that is valuable to the group. Annual ethics education is provided to staff from all areas. Included in the education is training on how to use an ethical decision-making tool (“IDEA”) to systematically address an ethical concern. This promotes a common language among staff, and contributes to better communication.
The organization has strived to create an ethical culture and environment, to develop policies and practices which support and encourage ethical conduct, and to ensure all decisions and actions are in alignment with its commitment to ethical practice with the overall goal of helping clients to enjoy the best possible quality of life.