Background Clinical Ethics Support Services (CESS) have been established to support healthcare professionals in addressing ethically sensitive issues in clinical practice and, in many countries, they are under development. In the context of growing CESS, exploring how healthcare professionals experience and address clinical ethics issues in their daily practice represents a fundamental step to understand their potential needs. This is even more relevant in the context of extremely sensitive diseases, such as cancer. On this basis, we carried out a qualitative study conducting in-depth semi-structured interviews with stakeholders of a major comprehensive cancer centre in Italy, with the twofold aim of investigating what ethical issues arise in the context of clinical oncology and how they are addressed, as well as stakeholders' expectations about a potential CESS to be implemented within the Institution. Methods The study was conducted within the theoretical framework of Grounded Theory. Participants were healthcare professionals and other key stakeholders working within the cancer centre. The semi-structured interview aimed at exploring common ethical aspects of oncology, investigating stakeholders' professional experience in dealing with clinical ethics issues, their expectations and requests regarding ethics support services. Transcripts of the interviews were coded and analysed according to the principles of Grounded Theory. Results Twenty-one stakeholders were interviewed. Our analysis showed a wide consensus on the identification of ethically relevant issues, above all those concerning communication, end-of-life, and resource allocation. The absence of institutional tools or strategies to address and manage ethical issues at the patient bedside emerged, and this is reflected in the widespread request for their development in the future. The ideal support service should be fast and flexible in order to adapt to different needs and clinical cases. Conclusions The interviewees showed a limited degree of 'ethical awareness': despite having reported many issues in clinical practice, they could hardly identify and describe the ethical aspects, while complaining about a lack of ethical resources in their management. To build a truly effective support service, it therefore seems appropriate to take such context into consideration and address the emerged needs. Ethical sensitivity seems to be key and it becomes even more relevant in critical clinical areas, such as the therapeutic pathways of terminally ill patients.

Ethical issues in oncology practice: a qualitative study of stakeholders' experiences and expectations / C. Crico, V. Sanchini, P.G. Casali, G. Pravettoni. - In: BMC MEDICAL ETHICS. - ISSN 1472-6939. - 23:1(2022 Jun 30), pp. 67.1-67.15. [10.1186/s12910-022-00803-x]

Ethical issues in oncology practice: a qualitative study of stakeholders' experiences and expectations

C. Crico
Primo
;
V. Sanchini
Secondo
;
P.G. Casali
Penultimo
;
G. Pravettoni
Ultimo
2022-06-30

Abstract

Background Clinical Ethics Support Services (CESS) have been established to support healthcare professionals in addressing ethically sensitive issues in clinical practice and, in many countries, they are under development. In the context of growing CESS, exploring how healthcare professionals experience and address clinical ethics issues in their daily practice represents a fundamental step to understand their potential needs. This is even more relevant in the context of extremely sensitive diseases, such as cancer. On this basis, we carried out a qualitative study conducting in-depth semi-structured interviews with stakeholders of a major comprehensive cancer centre in Italy, with the twofold aim of investigating what ethical issues arise in the context of clinical oncology and how they are addressed, as well as stakeholders' expectations about a potential CESS to be implemented within the Institution. Methods The study was conducted within the theoretical framework of Grounded Theory. Participants were healthcare professionals and other key stakeholders working within the cancer centre. The semi-structured interview aimed at exploring common ethical aspects of oncology, investigating stakeholders' professional experience in dealing with clinical ethics issues, their expectations and requests regarding ethics support services. Transcripts of the interviews were coded and analysed according to the principles of Grounded Theory. Results Twenty-one stakeholders were interviewed. Our analysis showed a wide consensus on the identification of ethically relevant issues, above all those concerning communication, end-of-life, and resource allocation. The absence of institutional tools or strategies to address and manage ethical issues at the patient bedside emerged, and this is reflected in the widespread request for their development in the future. The ideal support service should be fast and flexible in order to adapt to different needs and clinical cases. Conclusions The interviewees showed a limited degree of 'ethical awareness': despite having reported many issues in clinical practice, they could hardly identify and describe the ethical aspects, while complaining about a lack of ethical resources in their management. To build a truly effective support service, it therefore seems appropriate to take such context into consideration and address the emerged needs. Ethical sensitivity seems to be key and it becomes even more relevant in critical clinical areas, such as the therapeutic pathways of terminally ill patients.
Clinical Ethics Committee; Clinical ethics support; End-of-life; Ethical issue(s); Medical communication; Resources allocation; Semi-structured interviews; Health Personnel; Humans; Medical Oncology; Qualitative Research; Ethics, Clinical; Motivation;
Settore M-FIL/03 - Filosofia Morale
Settore MED/02 - Storia della Medicina
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/938280
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