When you or a loved one is facing a major health decision, you may have trouble deciding what is the right thing to do. Health care decisions have become increasingly complicated, which may put you at odds with your physician.

At University of Missouri Health Care, we provide a free Ethics Consult Service to help you better understand and make health care decisions. Staffed by Ethics Committee members with training in health care ethics, this service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service provides quick consultations to patients, families, surrogates or health care providers who need help making hard decisions.

You may call on the Ethics Consult Service any time you wonder “Is this the right thing to do?” The service also helps you solve dilemmas and conflicts if you or your loved ones have different ideas about values and responsibilities than members of your care team.

The consultation process

After you request a consultation, a member of the Ethics Consult Service will talk directly with you. If further discussion is needed, you can schedule a meeting between you, your loved ones, your health care team and the Ethics Consult Service.

During this private meeting, the ethics consultant helps you have an open and honest talk about clinical care and your ethics concerns. The goal of the talk is to help you make decisions and resolve any disagreements between you and your health care team.

The ethics consultant facilitates your talk, helps outline the ethical issues and offers suggestions for actions to take. Your consultant provides compassionate guidance and support, helping you communicate your wishes and worries. In all cases, the final decisions are up to you and your loved ones working with your care team.  

Making informed decisions

MU Health Care believes patients have the right to make informed treatment decisions. We provide a caring environment to support your choices.

To discuss any questions or concerns with an Ethics Consultant, please ask your doctor, nurse, social worker or chaplain to contact the hospital switchboard at 573-882-4141. They should ask the operator to page the ethics consultant on call.