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Revista médica de Chile

Print version ISSN 0034-9887


VUKUSICH, Antonio et al. Ethical issues perceived by health care professionals working in chronic hemodialysis centers. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2016, vol.144, n.1, pp.14-21. ISSN 0034-9887.

Background: Clinical teams working at chronic hemodialysis centers (CHC) frequently have to face ethical problems, but there is no systematic approach to deal with them. Aim: To study the ethical problems perceived by health professionals at CHC. Material and Methods: Eighty randomly selected physicians and 139 nurses from 23 CHC, answered a structured questionnaire, devised by the research team. Results: Twenty-six percent of respondents had postgraduate studies in clinical ethics. The ethical problems mentioned by respondents were therapeutic disproportion in 66.7%, lack of communication between patients, their families and the clinical team in 25.9%, personal conflicts of interests related with hemodialysis prescription in 14.6% and conflicts of interests of other members of the clinical team in 30.6%. The percentage of respondents that experienced not starting or discontinuing hemodialysis treatment due to decision of patients’ relatives was 86.8%. Only 45.2% of health professionals had the opportunity to take part in decision-making meetings. Eighty seven percent of respondents supported the use of advanced directives in the event of a cardio respiratory arrest during treatment. Conclusions: To improve the approach to ethical problems in CHC, it is necessary to improve training in clinical ethics, promote an effective dialogue between the patients, their families and health professionals, and follow their advance directives in case of cardiac arrest during treatment.

Keywords : Ethics; Patient rights; Renal dialysis.

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