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Ethical Decision Making: Application of a Problem-Solving Model

Kirsch, Nancy R. PT, DPT, PhD

doi: 10.1097/TGR.0b013e3181bdd6d8

Ethical decision making is a challenge to professionals, with an increase in the number of issues and situations that are increasingly complicated. Ethical decision-making skills are enhanced by studying cases and developing a strategy to face ethical issues. Practitioners do not always have complete control over the situations that confront them. When the welfare of the patient is compromised, the healthcare provider is increasingly challenged to manage the situation in the patient's best interest. A 4-step ethical decision-making model is presented including the Realm-Individual Process-Situation's process. A case involving rehabilitation professionals and limitations on care is presented and discussed by using the 4-step ethical decision-making framework.

University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark.

Corresponding Author: Nancy R. Kirsch, PT, DPT, PhD, University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, 65 Bergen St, Physical Therapy Program, Room 718B, Newark, NJ 07101 (

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.