The principles surrounding ethics involve health care professionals analysing problems they face and decide if an action or practice is deemed right or wrong. Health care professionals must always ensure they work within ethical principles highlighted within their profession (HCPC, 2016). Virtue ethics is a frame work which focuses upon the character of the person rather than the rightness of their actions (Pozgar, 2010). Deontology states the rightness of something is based on actions used to reach the point rather than result (Johnstone, 2015).
Deontology perception in a health care is that a patient hould never be treated as an object (Herring, 2014). Deontology is based on providing the best outcome you can as a health care professional, this theory takes into consideration the action you take and if these are deemed to be an act of cruelty (Melia, 2014). Utilitarianism is the ethical theory that defends the system of moral duty that determine if a person’s actions are to be considered right or wrong (Fry and Johnstone, 2008).
Consequentialism is the service users right to an action based on the consequences in a health care perspective, this gives the service user the right to accept or refuse treatment offered to hem (Wheeler, 2012). HCPC states that treatment should only be provided if it will benefit the patient and it is in their best interest, however this may still cause harm to a patient non- maleficence meaning to cause no harm contradicts this by today’s standards many patients leave hospital with problems that they never entered the health care setting with (HCPC, 2016).
Ethically we owe service users a duty of care this includes protecting them from harm (Newman and Hawley, 2007). These include the four main principles that are used to guide ethical practice within the care setting which are autonomy, eneficence, non- maleficence and justice (Obistom, 2013). When considering ethics a patient, when entering theatre, must do so under no obligation; autonomy gives them the right to receive or refuse any treatment that is offered to them and the HCPC standards states that the ODP should work in partnership with the service user and involve them in the treatment provided (HCPC, 2016).
Beauchamp and Childress (2008) argue that service users have a right to self- determination; every health care professional must respect a competent patient’s autonomy, and this gives them the right to ecide, the right to consent or refuse any treatment offered to them. ODP’S apply a variety of ethical principles daily when working within the perioperative department Autonomy addressees the freedom the service user has when making decisions about the treatment they receive, informed consent is seen has a direct reflection of this principle (Guido, 2006).
For a service user to make an autonomous decision they need to be deemed as being competent, however the law states that every individual should be deemed as having capacity unless it is established that they lack capacity. (Mental Capacity Act 2005 ode of practice,2007). This law applies to adults and children aged 16 and over, however Gillick states that children age 16 and under can consent or refuse treatment if they are deemed to understand the risks and benefits of the treatment offered (Hendrick and Wigens, 2004).
Beneficence is the principle which states that the actions service providers take should promote good. Beneficence and non-maleficence are closely related in health care, which brings into discussion both legal and ethical issues Beneficence will help determine the balance of benefits against the risks and costs involved in the treatment of the ervice user which in a health care setting can help in the decision making of any treatment (Fry and Johnstone, 2008).
Maleficence in the health care setting will determine the degree of harm involved in the treatment provided which within a healthcare setting, should be discussed with the service user prior to any medical intervention being undertaken (Fry and Veatch, 2006). HCPC (2104) states that treatment should only be provided if it will benefit the patient and it is in their best interest however, this may still cause harm to a patient and result in non-maleficence, meaning to cause no harm ontradicts this.
By today’s standards many patients leave hospital with problems that they never entered the health care setting with (Wheeler, 2012). These principles also encourage service providers to speak out when they feel patients are being treated in a way that they deem unacceptable, which is a requirement the ODP is governed to adhere to by the HCPC (HCPC 2016). When doing this it is important to always ensure not to breach the limitations of your role if the ODP feels speaking out is above the limitations of their role they have a duty to inform a senior member of the theatre team.
Service roviders have a duty of care to patients in a health care setting always, this duty includes protecting them from harm (Newman and Hawley, 2007). Justice is the principle used to ensure patients are treated with equality and respect for their rights without any discrimination (Griffiths and Tengnah, 2010). Justice is the obligation to be fair-minded in the distribution of benefits and risks (Gillon, 1994). Justice demands that a person in a comparable situation be treated in the same way (Pozgar, 2010).
Justice is referred to as being fair the ODP would need to be seen to treating people in an equal situation in an equal anner, in order to fulfil their role of patient advocate (Ellis 2015). As a advocate the ODP must always comply with the law. As an ODP it is of vital importance to ensure that the patient is completely aware of the risks and benefits of any treatment offered to them, as an advocate is it also essential to ensure the patient has consented to and treatment being performed this can be verbal and written, but this consent can be withdrawn by the service user at any time prior to treatment being given (Dimond, 2015).
The ODP will become the voice of the service user, providing the patient information to make an informed hoice throughout their perioperative journey. Informed consent is fundamental when providing care ODP’s face many challenges in relation to this (Arnold and Boggs, 2007). The service user has a legal right to direct what happens to their own body, which is essential prior to any treatment being received, to do this the patient needs to hold enough information to allow them to make a choice regarding treatment they receive (Farmer and Lundy 2017).
This will include the patient giving their consent regarding their treatment, which is a legal requirement, however it also states hat this consent can also come from an appropriate authority which can be a family member or a carer who has given prior permission to act on the servicer users’ behalf (DH, 2007). However, any competent adult has a legal right to accept or refuse treatment, if these rights are ignored the service then has a legal right to seek advice from a civil court on grounds of trespass (Dimond, 2015).
In the case of emergency treatment can be given without consent under the (Mental capacity act 2005, code of practice 2007), provided the treatment given is deemed lifesaving treatment and in the best interest of the atient. HCPC states we must be able to understand the complexity of caring for vulnerable persons in perioperative and other healthcare settings, and the need to adapt care if necessary (HCPC, 2016).
Under the Mental Capacity Act (2005), patients may legally make an advance decision about treatment they receive or refuse in the future, the patient will need to be over 18 and competent when making the living will for this to be legally binding. A child under the age of 16 is deemed as incompetent, the law allows the parents to decide unless it is an emergency (Wheeler, 2012).