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About the Childrens Bioethics Centre

  • Clinicians of all disciplines make ethical decision daily in the course of providing care to patients and families. When ethical considerations are complex or unclear, the Children's Bioethics Centre can provide support

    The Children’s Bioethics Centre provides the Clinical Ethics Service for the RCH campus. The service advises and supports hospital staff work through complex decision-making, often in emotionally fraught situations. Our ethics case consultation process provides an open, collaborative space to discuss ethical considerations and come to an ethically appropriate and mutually agreed plan. The types of referrals include: parents refusing medically recommended treatment for their child, clinicians contemplating offering experimental or non-standard interventions, and children or adolescents refusing investigations or medical treatment.

    We work together with staff, using established ethical principles in a multi-disciplinary forum that emphasises openness, respect and collaboration, to address some of the really difficult questions arising in clinical care. This process provides ethically sound options for patient care and may alleviate moral distress for all concerned. Our process has become a benchmark in the child and family-centred care provided at The Royal Children’s Hospital.

    The Children's Bioethics Centre also provides:

    • tailored and responsive education and training programs embedded in the hospital structure

    • ethical policy advice and guidance to The Royal Children’s Hospital executive, peak health professional bodies and government, both state and federal

    • a dynamic research program that is practice-based, collaborative and translational. It aims to undertake research which will be useful in the clinical setting.

    Learn more about the four main areas of activity of The Children’s Bioethics Centre:

    Bioethics introductory video (5 mins)

    Essential Ethics podcast series:

    Special COVID-19 Pandemic Ethics in a Children's Hospital podcast series and Series 1 Classic Conundrums are available at  www.rch.org.au/podcasts/essential-ethics/

    Paediatric Ethics: applying ethics into your clinical practice eLearn

    Please click to access the eLearn (link for this:  https://ww2.rch.org.au/articulate/ethics/story.html)

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    Arrangements during COVID-19 social distancing period

    Staff of the Children’s Bioethics Centre will be working remotely, but will still be available for all clinical ethics services. We will continue to provide individual ethics advice, attendance at MDT meetings, and Clinical Ethics Response Group meetings by phone or Zoom. In exceptional  circumstances, if a face-to-face meeting of a small number of people is essential for decision-making about patient care, a clinical ethicist can be available. To request clinical ethics support, please contact:

    The CBC have prepared a special COVID-19 briefing paper 'Balancing protection of staff with optimising patient care'   Please click here to view  

    Ethics education sessions are still possible, using Zoom or other technologies. Please contact our Ethics Project Officer, Karen Fellows karen.fellows@rch.org.au . To discuss how education sessions might be delivered, please contact Clare Delany clare.delany@rch.org.au.

    Calling for EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST: Engaging Nurses in Clinical Ethics (ENCE) Program

    A new program Engaging Nurses in Clinical Ethics (ENCE) is being offered at RCH in 2021. The aim of this program is to increase nursing confidence and engagement in clinical ethics discussions and decision making. The overall purpose is to optimise nursing input into clinical ethics issues at RCH. For further information and key date, please see ENCE Expressions of Interest.

    Applications close: Wednesday 24 March 2021