Ethics

Original Editor - Venus Pagare

Top Contributors - Venus Pagare, Amanda Ager and Evan Thomas  

Introduction

Ethics derives from, the Greek word “ethicos” which means arising from custom or from the French word “ethos” meaning custom. According to Websters’s dictionary ethics is a concept that deals with moral issues of good and bad, based on societal norms. Ethics, is the code written or unwritten that guides the behaviour of human beings, in the context of different cultures and situations. This moral code may vary from society to society. However there are certain aspects that hold good in every situation. The application of these principles would be dependent on the person and the situation. In short it is a judgment call.

Ethics in physiotherapy can be defined as the moral code of conduct that defines the relationship between the therapist and her patient or client, and the therapist and other healthcare professionals based on mutual respect and trust.

Professional Ethics

Ethical dimensions in professions are needed to
1. have clear boundaries
2. have commonly accepted norms of behaviour
3. enhance respect within and outside the profession
4. protect the rights of the consumer/ client
5. protect the rights and privileges of the professional

Principles [1]

1. Autonomy 

Autonomy of the client/ patient to opt for or out of any treatment options is available to him.

2. Beneficence

Duty of the health provider to ensure that the client in her care is assured of all the benefits of her professional knowledge to help the person overcome their dysfunction.

3. Justice

Duty of the health provider to ensure that justice is done to the individuals in her care. This involves equal and unbiased care, respect for autonomy, and the duty to provide the correct information to the best of her knowledge if called upon by a court of law.

4. Non-maleficence

Oldest principle of medical behaviour- do no harm.

5. Confidentiality

  • discuss only aspects of the patient that are important to the treatment of the individual
  • discuss aspects of care only in a confidential atmosphere and as much as possible without use of the patient’s name or other identification.
  • In addition ensure that the discussion does not involve anyone who cannot contribute to the enhanced care of your patient.
  • Ensure that patient records are not deposited in places of public access.
  • Do not discuss one patient’s condition (1) with another patient (2) without the consent of the first party
  • sometimes it may be necessary to withhold information from members of the patient’s family if so requested

6. Dissipation of knowledge:

  • The patient has a right to information pertaining to his condition.
  • The patient also has the right to make an informed choice of treatment options available to him as also the right to change providers if he so wishes.


Presentations

Ethical Issues in Physiotherapy

Basic Principles in Medical Ethics

Resources

Management of medical confidentiality in English professional football clubs: some ethical problems and issues

The British Olympic Association’s position statement on athlete confidentiality

References

  1. Raja K,Davis F, Sivakumar T. Ethical Issues Perspectives For The Physiotherapists.