Table 1.

The seven-step process of ethical decision-making in patient care

Step 1. What are the ethical questions?
Step 2. What are the clinically relevant facts?
Step 3. What are the values at stake for all relevant parties?
Step 4. List options. What could you do?
Step 5. What should you do? Choose the best option from the ethical point of view.
Step 6. Justify your choice. Give reasons to support your choice. Refer back to the values and explain why some values are more important in this case than the others.
Step 7. How could this ethical issue have been prevented? Would any policies/guidelines/practices be useful in changing any problems with the system?
  • Reprinted from reference 10, with permission.