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 16I1 - Ethically Appropriate Approaches to Conducting Family Meetings and Responding to the Hope for a Miracle
presented by Courtenay R. Bruce JD MA and Trevor Bibler PhD MTS
90 Minutes (1.5 CE Hours)
$55/Member $95/Nonmember
Item Number: WebR160407
Shipping Weight: 0lbs. 0oz.
Price: $95.00
This webinar will discuss two important issues for hospital chaplains: how to conduct a meeting between the patient's family members and the patient's health care team, and how to compassionately respond to patients and families who hope for a miracle. The presentation will concentrate on practical strategies that chaplains, ethicists, and other health care professionals can employ in order to ensure that communication remains clear and the overall health of the patient remains a priority.

We know that effective family meetings can reduce hospital length of stay, lower direct/indirect costs, and reduce ICU mortality.Ineffective family meetings, on the other hand, can lead to confusion, patient/family dissatisfaction, or distrust. Few empirical data exist to guide the conduct of communicating with family members of critically ill patients. Employing case vignettes and transcripts from actual family meetings, this presentation will to show how to become optimally effective in facilitating/leading family meetings, while attending to the ethical permissibility of outcomes. Following this, the presentation will focus on the challenges that chaplains and ethicists face when patients or their surrogates employ miracle-language during medical decision-making. Family meetings can become especially challenging when the hope for a miracle orients a patient's conception of good medicine. The presentation will offer ethically justified strategies for elucidating the patient's conception of "miracle" in the context of family meetings and one-on-one conversations.

Learning Objectives

As a result of this educational opportunity, participants will be able to:

1. Identify when and why to conduct or facilitate family meetings in hospitals (as a chaplain) and outline a communication framework to use in conducting/facilitating family meetings.

2. Describe a taxonomy of five different communication models or strategies to use in family meetings, including when it is ethically permissible and ethically impermissible to use particular communication models.

3. Engage in productive and sensitive conversation with patients and surrogates who use the term "miracle" in the context of family meetings.


Courtenay R. Bruce JD MA is an assistant professor of Medicine and Medical Ethics at the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy at Baylor College of Medicine. She is also director of the Bioethics Program for the Houston Methodist System. A lawyer with a background in health law, she also has a master's degree in bioethics, and extensive training and certification in mediation and dispute resolution. In addition, Professor Bruce conducts research in communication and decision-making in critical care and transplant ethics. Her scholarly work has been published in the Journal of American College of Cardiology, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Chest, Critical Care Medicine, and the Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation (among others). She was selected as an ethics committee member for the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) for her work in transplant ethics.

Trevor Bibler PhD MTS is a postdoctoral fellow in clinical ethics at the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy at Baylor College of Medicine and Houston Methodist System. He earned his doctorate from Vanderbilt University in Religion (ethics and society), and a master of theological studies (patristics) from Vanderbilt Divinity School. Dr. Bibler conducts ethics consultations and researches issues in religion and medicine. His work has been published in The Journal of Palliative Medicine, The American Journal of Bioethics, The Hastings Center Report, and The Journal of Pediatric Intensive Care, among other places.

How It Works

When you purchase this webinar recording, you will receive a PDF file with links to watch the recording and access supplemental materials directly from our website. You'll be able to hear and see the complete presentation, including Q&A with the audience. To participate, all that is needed is a computer with Internet access and speakers, as the presentation audio and visuals are "webcast.