Ethical considerations

Care of the critically ill and injured during pandemics and disasters: CHEST consensus statement

Task Force for Mass Critical Care

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Mass critical care entails time-sensitive decisions and changes in the standard of care that it is possible to deliver. These circumstances increase provider uncertainty as well as patients' vulnerability and may, therefore, jeopardize disciplined, ethical decision-making. Planning for pandemics and disasters should incorporate ethics guidance to support providers who may otherwise make ad hoc patient care decisions that overstep ethical boundaries. This article provides consensus-developed suggestions about ethical challenges in caring for the critically ill or injured during pandemics or disasters. The suggestions in this article are important for all of those involved in any pandemic or disaster with multiple critically ill or injured patients, including front-line clinicians, hospital administrators, and public health or government officials. METHODS: We adapted the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) Guidelines Oversight Committee's methodology to develop suggestions. Twenty-four key questions were developed, and literature searches were conducted to identify evidence for suggestions. The detailed literature reviews produced 144 articles. Based on their expertise within this domain, panel members also supplemented the literature search with governmental publications, interdisciplinary workgroup consensus documents, and other information not retrieved through PubMed. The literature in this field is not suitable to support evidence-based recommendations. Therefore, the panel developed expert opinion-based suggestions using a modified Delphi process. RESULTS: We report the suggestions that focus on five essential domains: triage and allocation, ethical concerns of patients and families, ethical responsibilities to providers, conduct of research, and international concerns. CONCLUSIONS: Ethics issues permeate virtually all aspects of pandemic and disaster response. We have addressed some of the most pressing issues, focusing on five essential domains: triage and allocation, ethical concerns of patients and families, ethical responsibilities to providers, conduct of research, and international concerns. Our suggestions reflect the consensus of the Task Force. We recognize, however, that some suggestions, including those related to end-of-life care, may be controversial. We highlight the need for additional research and dialogue in articulating values to guide health-care decisions during disasters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e145S-e155S
JournalChest
Volume146
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

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Disasters
Pandemics
Critical Illness
Consensus
Triage
Ethics
Disaster Planning
Research
Hospital Administrators
Terminal Care
Expert Testimony
Advisory Committees
Critical Care
Standard of Care
PubMed
Uncertainty
Publications
Decision Making
Patient Care
Public Health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Cite this

Ethical considerations : Care of the critically ill and injured during pandemics and disasters: CHEST consensus statement. / Task Force for Mass Critical Care.

In: Chest, Vol. 146, 01.10.2014, p. e145S-e155S.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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title = "Ethical considerations: Care of the critically ill and injured during pandemics and disasters: CHEST consensus statement",
abstract = "BACKGROUND: Mass critical care entails time-sensitive decisions and changes in the standard of care that it is possible to deliver. These circumstances increase provider uncertainty as well as patients' vulnerability and may, therefore, jeopardize disciplined, ethical decision-making. Planning for pandemics and disasters should incorporate ethics guidance to support providers who may otherwise make ad hoc patient care decisions that overstep ethical boundaries. This article provides consensus-developed suggestions about ethical challenges in caring for the critically ill or injured during pandemics or disasters. The suggestions in this article are important for all of those involved in any pandemic or disaster with multiple critically ill or injured patients, including front-line clinicians, hospital administrators, and public health or government officials. METHODS: We adapted the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) Guidelines Oversight Committee's methodology to develop suggestions. Twenty-four key questions were developed, and literature searches were conducted to identify evidence for suggestions. The detailed literature reviews produced 144 articles. Based on their expertise within this domain, panel members also supplemented the literature search with governmental publications, interdisciplinary workgroup consensus documents, and other information not retrieved through PubMed. The literature in this field is not suitable to support evidence-based recommendations. Therefore, the panel developed expert opinion-based suggestions using a modified Delphi process. RESULTS: We report the suggestions that focus on five essential domains: triage and allocation, ethical concerns of patients and families, ethical responsibilities to providers, conduct of research, and international concerns. CONCLUSIONS: Ethics issues permeate virtually all aspects of pandemic and disaster response. We have addressed some of the most pressing issues, focusing on five essential domains: triage and allocation, ethical concerns of patients and families, ethical responsibilities to providers, conduct of research, and international concerns. Our suggestions reflect the consensus of the Task Force. We recognize, however, that some suggestions, including those related to end-of-life care, may be controversial. We highlight the need for additional research and dialogue in articulating values to guide health-care decisions during disasters.",
author = "{Task Force for Mass Critical Care} and {Daugherty Biddison}, Elizabeth and Berkowitz, {Kenneth A.} and Brooke Courtney and {De Jong}, {Marla J.} and Devereaux, {Asha V.} and Niranjan Kissoon and Roxland, {Beth E.} and Sprung, {Charles L.} and Dichter, {Jeffrey R.} and Christian, {Michael D.} and Tia Powell",
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T2 - Care of the critically ill and injured during pandemics and disasters: CHEST consensus statement

AU - Task Force for Mass Critical Care

AU - Daugherty Biddison, Elizabeth

AU - Berkowitz, Kenneth A.

AU - Courtney, Brooke

AU - De Jong, Marla J.

AU - Devereaux, Asha V.

AU - Kissoon, Niranjan

AU - Roxland, Beth E.

AU - Sprung, Charles L.

AU - Dichter, Jeffrey R.

AU - Christian, Michael D.

AU - Powell, Tia

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N2 - BACKGROUND: Mass critical care entails time-sensitive decisions and changes in the standard of care that it is possible to deliver. These circumstances increase provider uncertainty as well as patients' vulnerability and may, therefore, jeopardize disciplined, ethical decision-making. Planning for pandemics and disasters should incorporate ethics guidance to support providers who may otherwise make ad hoc patient care decisions that overstep ethical boundaries. This article provides consensus-developed suggestions about ethical challenges in caring for the critically ill or injured during pandemics or disasters. The suggestions in this article are important for all of those involved in any pandemic or disaster with multiple critically ill or injured patients, including front-line clinicians, hospital administrators, and public health or government officials. METHODS: We adapted the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) Guidelines Oversight Committee's methodology to develop suggestions. Twenty-four key questions were developed, and literature searches were conducted to identify evidence for suggestions. The detailed literature reviews produced 144 articles. Based on their expertise within this domain, panel members also supplemented the literature search with governmental publications, interdisciplinary workgroup consensus documents, and other information not retrieved through PubMed. The literature in this field is not suitable to support evidence-based recommendations. Therefore, the panel developed expert opinion-based suggestions using a modified Delphi process. RESULTS: We report the suggestions that focus on five essential domains: triage and allocation, ethical concerns of patients and families, ethical responsibilities to providers, conduct of research, and international concerns. CONCLUSIONS: Ethics issues permeate virtually all aspects of pandemic and disaster response. We have addressed some of the most pressing issues, focusing on five essential domains: triage and allocation, ethical concerns of patients and families, ethical responsibilities to providers, conduct of research, and international concerns. Our suggestions reflect the consensus of the Task Force. We recognize, however, that some suggestions, including those related to end-of-life care, may be controversial. We highlight the need for additional research and dialogue in articulating values to guide health-care decisions during disasters.

AB - BACKGROUND: Mass critical care entails time-sensitive decisions and changes in the standard of care that it is possible to deliver. These circumstances increase provider uncertainty as well as patients' vulnerability and may, therefore, jeopardize disciplined, ethical decision-making. Planning for pandemics and disasters should incorporate ethics guidance to support providers who may otherwise make ad hoc patient care decisions that overstep ethical boundaries. This article provides consensus-developed suggestions about ethical challenges in caring for the critically ill or injured during pandemics or disasters. The suggestions in this article are important for all of those involved in any pandemic or disaster with multiple critically ill or injured patients, including front-line clinicians, hospital administrators, and public health or government officials. METHODS: We adapted the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) Guidelines Oversight Committee's methodology to develop suggestions. Twenty-four key questions were developed, and literature searches were conducted to identify evidence for suggestions. The detailed literature reviews produced 144 articles. Based on their expertise within this domain, panel members also supplemented the literature search with governmental publications, interdisciplinary workgroup consensus documents, and other information not retrieved through PubMed. The literature in this field is not suitable to support evidence-based recommendations. Therefore, the panel developed expert opinion-based suggestions using a modified Delphi process. RESULTS: We report the suggestions that focus on five essential domains: triage and allocation, ethical concerns of patients and families, ethical responsibilities to providers, conduct of research, and international concerns. CONCLUSIONS: Ethics issues permeate virtually all aspects of pandemic and disaster response. We have addressed some of the most pressing issues, focusing on five essential domains: triage and allocation, ethical concerns of patients and families, ethical responsibilities to providers, conduct of research, and international concerns. Our suggestions reflect the consensus of the Task Force. We recognize, however, that some suggestions, including those related to end-of-life care, may be controversial. We highlight the need for additional research and dialogue in articulating values to guide health-care decisions during disasters.

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