An embedded model for ethics consultation: Characteristics, outcomes, and challenges

Courtenay Bruce, Adam Peña, Betsy B. Kusin, Nathan G. Allen, Martin L. Smith, Mary A. Majumder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Little has been written about models for clinical ethics consultation. By "model" we mean the way in which the engagement between the clinical ethics consultant, hospital staff, and other stakeholders is structured, with a key variable being the degree of integration with stakeholders within the institution or segments of the institution. We describe an innovative model of clinical ethics consultation, which we term "embedded ethics," involving embedding clinical ethics consultants within clinical specialties and subspecialties based on institutional needs and areas of clinical ethicists' expertise. Methods: The overarching methodology for this article is a case study, reporting our experience with an intervention that we evaluated using mixed methods. Results: Our results underscore the positive impact that an embedded ethics intervention can have on consultation volume and intensity, as well as clinical staff perceptions of an ethics consultation service (ECS). Conclusions: Our experience with the embedded ethics model supports several intuitions about the benefits of adopting such a model for increasing awareness (and use) of the ECS as a resource for clinicians, patients, and families and of improving clinicians' satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-18
Number of pages11
JournalAJOB Empirical Bioethics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014


  • Clinical ethics consultation
  • Ethics committees
  • Ethics consultation services
  • Outcomes research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Philosophy
  • Health Policy


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