Nursing Facilities in New York State are required under the Family Health Care Decisions Act enacted about a year ago to establish an ethics review committee or participate in a committee that serves more than one facility. Ethics review committees have been common in hospitals for years, but are new to many nursing facilities. A facility may designate an existing committee, such as the quality assurance committee, or a subcommittee thereof, to carry out the functions of the ethics review committee.
Recommendations and advice of the ethics review committee are advisory and nonbinding, but certain decisions regarding withholding or withdrawing nutrition and hydration are legally binding. The committee is required to provide a written statement of the reasons for their decisions in these cases.
Ethics review committees must be interdisciplinary and include at least five members with a commitment to patient/resident rights or interest in the needs of those who are ill. At least three members must be health or social service practitioners, including at least one registered nurse and one physician. At least one member must be a person without any governance, employment or contractual relationship with the facility. A facility must offer the residents’ council the opportunity to appoint up to two persons, neither of whom may be a resident or a family member of a resident, and both of whom have expertise or a demonstrated commitment to resident rights or to the care of the elderly.
A person connected with a case may not participate as a committee member in consideration of that case. The committee shall permit persons connected to a case to present their views to the committee, and the option of being accompanied by an advisor when participating in a meeting.If your nursing facility has experience with establishing an ethics review committee I would like to hear about it. Please email me at email@example.com.
Posted by Kathleen Carver Cheney
@ May 13, 2011 12:08 PM EDT