Ethics consultation in health care can significantly impact critical outcomes, such as decreasing the length of stay in an intensive care unit and increasing family and healthcare provider satisfaction. Human service professionals seek the knowledge, education, experience, and supervision necessary to ensure effectiveness when working with persons from different cultural backgrounds. Moral, cultural, and legal issues are common in the work of social workers.
All those factors should necessarily align with The National Organization for Human Services (NOHS) standards and especially considering the respect and inclusivity of the patients. Consultations with colleagues usually help in resolving questions and determining what role the specialist should take to help the patient. Such interprofessional interactions allow for finding creative solutions in case of untypical situations. Social sciences allow the creation of predictable and manageable settings in terms of medical crises. Managing ethical challenges in social work is rather effective through the comprehensive approach, including following NOHS standards, embracing inclusivity in practice, and collaborating with other professionals.
Ethics in Healthcare
It is essential to use ethical decision-making procedures to ensure thoughtful decisions. Despite not being legal documents, moral codes can be used to resolve concerns about the conduct of human care providers (Reamer, 2022). Human service workers should consider certain norms when making moral and professional decisions since there are specific standards regarding interaction with individuals (Adamek, 2022). These dilemmas may conflict with applicable laws, employment standards, cultural norms, accrediting bodies, and personal convictions.
The central standard of the NOHS in this paper implies the principles of dignity and social equality. Human service workers seek the education, training, experience, and supervision required to ensure their efﬁcacy when operating with culturally diverse people (Kurczewski, 2018). Often, it includes age, gender, language, religion, sexual identity, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, or membership in other traditionally oppressed groups. Additionally, human service workers will aim to improve their proficiency in techniques recognized to be most effective for the population, representing the diversity of different aspects.
Employees from the human service sphere, namely healthcare, who face moral quandaries occasionally have the option of informal consultations with their colleagues. These discussions often occur through phone calls, videoconference calls, or conversations held in a coworker’s or social worker’s office. These unofficial ethics discussions are not recorded in the client’s file or chart. Social workers occasionally have informal conversations with peers in their peer consultation groups, particularly independent practice.
Ethics consultants are able to serve several different roles, depending on the employment setting, responsibilities, training, and expertise of the social worker. Staff workers who have formal training may offer ethics consulting at major human service organizations like hospitals (Fox et al., 2022). In-house carers may be helpful in various diverse contexts, including the military, child welfare organizations, mental health facilities, and the school system. Social workers must participate in challenging continuing education to ensure the necessary knowledge and skills relevant to ethical consultation.
There are valuable tools to improve practitioners’ ethical judgment, which include casual ethics discussions, formal ethics consultations, ethical guidelines, and ethics rounds. Social workers working in agencies can identify coworkers with a strong interest in ethical standards and arrange a meeting to discuss creating agency-based protocols (Reamer, 2022). Employees in independent practice can take deliberate steps to raise and address complex ethical issues during peer consultation meetings.
Ethics consultation in healthcare can significantly impact critical outcomes, such as decreasing the length of stay in an intensive care unit and increasing family and healthcare provider satisfaction. Certain situations, such as an epidemic of coronavirus or a deficit of specialists and medical equipment, also require the social worker to make an ethical decision regarding the distribution of supplies (Poorchangizi et al., 2017). Ethical consultations in healthcare, among other things, contribute to a better understanding of the social sciences and medical crisis issues. In order to analyze this aspect, it is necessary to regard the abovementioned concepts separately. In addition, the connection between ethical consultation with the social sciences and the medical crisis will be explored. It is worth noting that under the causes of the medical crisis, both background or long-term, and urgent or short-term are considered. This approach helps to examine the working principle of the proposed aspects better since their application is considered from different angles.
Social Sciences as Complex Disciplines
Social sciences are a complex of scientific disciplines that study both society as a whole and its individual components. Besides, individual members of society and the relationship between the community, members of the community, and its individual components are considered. Moreover, these sciences study the history, structure, dynamics, economics, politics, development, and prospects of society. The connection between aspects of the social sciences and medicine is formulated primarily by the communicative factor. In other words, there is a problem with understanding the true nature of healing in the medical area.
Thus, it was assumed that healthcare is primarily a technological experience and should focus on providing material aspects for the patient. However, primarily, sick people expect from a medical institution a demonstration of care and only after that, technological items (Bertino, 2021). It does not negate the importance of the development of technologies in medicine and the dependence of favorable outcomes on this. However, the very essence of healthcare lies in the demonstration of care as a common foundation on which the technological aspect is based (Cederbaum et al., 2019). Caring includes not only the use of technology to ensure the most rapid relief, recovery, and improvement of the patient. Above all, it is the process of communication that articulates the social importance of the manifestation of healthcare. Sharing information is critical to identifying causes and finding the best option for the client.
Furthermore, the connection between the social sciences and the medical sphere is formulated by events that have changed the social structure of ordinary life. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic led to social isolation, quarantine, a mask regime, and a change in many of the usual rhythms of life. Communication is not only a way to provide healthcare services to clients but also an essential component of social ties (Kuczewski, 2021). As one knows, the pandemic has led to a sharp reduction in live communication and non-verbal communication, namely when one observes facial expressions, due to masks. Thus, the medical factor, namely the virus, minimized and changed the social ties familiar to everyone, which led to an increase in mental illness.
From a healthcare perspective, social sciences and medical crises allow the creation of controllable settings. For example, the COVID-19 crisis offers the opportunity to successfully comprehend and profoundly strengthen the contextual factors inside residential facilities worldwide, in addition to establishing safer organizations for all individuals who require continuous care (Krones et al., 2020). Medical crisis is a complex term that includes many different concepts depending on the context. Therefore, it is a critical condition in the disease, after which either improvement or deterioration occurs. In addition, a medical crisis may arise due to an overload in the healthcare sector, as it happened during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The overload occurred due to the significant number of incoming patients and individuals requiring care and treatment. There were not enough resources to provide care to all who needed it, such as wards, medicines, oxygen, and personnel. Moreover, there was a ‘vicious circle effect’, namely when, due to quarantine restrictions, there were not enough resources for the study and development of drugs, which led to an even greater development of the disease.
It is worth mentioning that a medical crisis includes a complex situation on the scale of a community, district, city, country, or the whole planet. The territorial coverage depends on the severity of the problem and the measures that have been taken to control it. Ethical consultations, among other things, include recommendations at the local and global levels, including the necessary procedures for crisis (Michalsen, 2020). It articulates the connection between ethical consultations and the medical crisis. Moreover, communication is an essential component as a method of social ties. The medical crisis has many negative consequences, which can include economic recession, increased mortality, and riots (Khamees et al., 2020). Thus, the task of the social sphere is to develop methods for leveling these potential problems.
There are several ways to deal with medical crises, one of which is prevention/preparation. It includes threat analysis, the development of a plan for preparation in case of a threat, prevention methods, and actions in the worst-case scenario. Under such an approach, even if it is not possible to eliminate a potential threat, one has the opportunity to minimize the negative consequences (Pozgar, 2019). Moreover, prevention/preparation is part of the social sciences as it is related to communication processes and social ties. In addition, ethical consultations, as part of social networks, play a vital role in the development and implementation of prevention.
Facing a medical crisis may be followed by the threat of informational clutter and, as a result, a loss of public confidence in health centers. To avoid this, it is necessary to observe the rules of information hygiene, both for the centers and the public. In other words, the individual should not search for information from unofficial sources and disseminate it. At the same time, healthcare centers should demonstrate a policy of maximum transparency to avoid misrepresentation. One should keep a balance between truthful facts for the public and not leading to panic among the population. For this, information must be provided objectively, from different points of view, in order to enable the population to analyze.
The connection between ethical standards and medical and social spheres can be traced in their major tasks. Thus, the primary goal of providing health care services is to grant the patient the fastest relief, improvement, and recovery. Ethical standards refer to the provision of this process while demonstrating sincerity, empathy, and kindness to the patient. That is, to manifest such social factors as communication and an adequate attitude towards others, which in turn is part of adequate social behavior. Thus, one may notice that the global factors of ethical standards, the medical field, and social aspects are interrelated. Finally, the doctor has a duty to be transparent in informing the patient of one’s diagnosis while at the same time being sensitive (Mitchell & Guichon, 2020). One should not hide any facts but provide them as appropriately as possible.
Methods of Dealing with Social Sciences
Another aspect that links the social sciences and medical crises is the methods of dealing with the latter. Namely, an assessment of previous crises and an analysis of the measures that were taken to eliminate them. The methodology and procedures of previous crises can be interpreted in terms of modern realities and adopted. For this, one needs to use methods related to the social sciences, which formulates their connection. It may be in the form of an analysis of the archives and documentation of previous crises, which usually contain crucial aspects. Moreover, it is necessary to conduct personal communication with key persons who made important decisions and analyze their motives. All this will give the most accurate information, which, as already indicated, must be interpreted and applied, taking into account today’s realities.
In addition, under emergency situations, there is a possibility of a social split, and the task of the social sciences is to prevent it. The split can occur against the backdrop of general panic and growing discontent. In the event that controversial information or a point of view appears, society splits into several camps. Under panic and psychological stress, the pressure may increase, and people will begin to defend their point of view with particular enthusiasm. As a result, riots and local clashes may begin, and the situation will worsen. Moreover, some politicians may use the tension of the situation in their own interests, namely, to subdue the public for themselves or for the sake of PR. In any case, the crucial task of the social sciences is to prevent the emergence of a split in society.
Furthermore, governments and healthcare leaders often have to make life-changing decisions under the conditions of a medical crisis. For this, one needs not only to analyze current events but also to be based on any existing norms (Mitchell & Guichon, 2020). Thereby, social groups and experts have developed collections of specific rules and norms, which should be taken into account in the first place. These rules are based on the principles of social and moral standards such as equality, honesty, fairness, and respect for human rights. With the help of this, in the event of a disputable situation, one has the opportunity to make a decision based on specific algorithms. This approach formulates easier decision-making for leaders since one will be guided by clear rules.
To conclude, ethical consultation in the field of healthcare is an essential aspect as it formulates the fulfillment of its goals. Consultation increases the satisfaction of families and health workers and reduces the length of stay in the department. It is related to the social area as employees are looking for the most effective ways to work with people from different cultures. It is vital to find the most appropriate methods in terms of moral, cultural, and legal issues. Ethical consultations help address social issues such as equality, an inclusive environment, and the demonstration of sincerity and respect. Due to a transparent method of informing, any healthcare employee has the opportunity to develop personal rules.
Moreover, one may notice that there is a connection between the social sciences and medical crises. Primarily, it is formulated by the need to prevent and respond to events that have changed social norms. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to quarantine, mask regimen, social isolation, and limited communication. A medical crisis is a situation that has a negative impact on a community, area, city, country, or world. It could lead to a loss of public confidence in health centers, unrest, and a recession in the economy. To eliminate these consequences, it is necessary to use social tools which form a connection.
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