AMBI has provided bedside clinical ethics consultation services for patients, caregivers, families and staff since 1994. It is one of the keystones of our commitment to quality health care.
The past few years have brought unprecedented growth in medical technology. Each day brings new treatment options to patients, families, and health care providers. As a result, they face more decisions, especially more ethical decisions, than ever before. Instead of asking "What can be done?" they often find themselves asking "What should be done?" What is right for one patient may be wrong for another. We try to help identify the patient’s values and support a care plan which respects individual choices and preferences.
Our role is to assist and support, not make decisions for patients. We advocate for the best interests of the patient and often help families to clarify what those interests might be. Our medical, nursing, and support staffs can utilize too this service as many decisions require further exploration of multiple issues.
The options presented by the Ethics Consultation Service are of an advisory nature only, and are not binding. Of course, all services are completely confidential.
Specially trained and qualified medical ethics consultants offer the services. To help identify and address the diverse issues that can develop, the consultants explore the values and concerns of the patient, family, and staff. They also draw from the expertise of physicians, nurses, social workers, pastoral care representatives, hospital administration, legal counsel, and others.
When to Request an Ethics Consultation
Patients, families, and healthcare providers are encouraged to request the assistance of an ethics consultant when there is conflict, when ethical questions arise, or when support is needed in making difficult decisions.
What Can You Expect?
Typically, the Consultation Service responds to a request within 24 hours (time-sensitive situations will receive immediate attention). If someone other than the patient initiates the request, the patient and the attending physician are notified.
Frequently a family meeting is held to clarify concerns, questions, or goals of care.
To Request Assistance or Information
To request an ethics consultant (or more information about the Consultation Service), contact the Ethics Consultation Service directly by calling the operator (518-262-3125). More information about the Ethics Consultation Service is available in a brochure [PDF download] about ethics consultation at Albany Medical Center.
Forms for Patients and Families
Among the materials made available at admission to Albany Medical Center are a Health Care Proxy and a Living Will Form.
John Balint, M.D., F.R.C.P.
Walter Edge, M.D.
Wayne Shelton, Ph.D., M.S.W.
Jane Jankowski, L.M.S.W., M.S.
Dan Thompson, M.D.
Bruce White, D.O., J.D.
A Resource for Patients, Families, Physicians, and Staff
For more information about the Ethics Consultation Service, or to request a consult, please contact the Albany Medical Center Operator at (518) 262-3125 and the on-call consultant will be paged.