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Enhancing the use of institutional ethics committees in mental health care in Israel

, : Enhancing the use of institutional ethics committees in mental health care in Israel. Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences 51(3): 188-192

Institutional ethics committees were established and functioned in Israel prior to the application of the Patients Rights Act of 1996. These committees were voluntary and comprised of multidisciplinary teams in order to obtain numerous viewpoints stemming from various different fields. This intent was based on an understanding that the issue of ethics and the process of making ethical decisions inherently address moral and social considerations which are beyond the realm of medical practice. In contrast to the voluntary institutional ethics committees, the Patients Rights Act of 1996 instituted statutory ethics committees. These committees were mandated to investigate defined areas and, in contrast to the former committees that were considered to be valuable as advisory and enlightening entities, their decisions are binding. However, it appears that the utilization of these ethics committees within the domain of mental health facilities is limited in scope and their use varies greatly between institutions. The employment of these committees in mental health institutions focuses mainly around issues that relate to information management and mentally ill patients' refusal of medical treatment. Several explanations exist for this phenomenon. Suggestions as to how the situation may be remedied are addressed as well as the complementary role that these ethics committees may play in modern day clinical practice.


PMID: 25618282

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