What outcomes do Dutch healthcare professionals perceive as important before participation in moral case deliberation?

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Background: There has been little attention paid to research on the outcomes of clinical ethics support (CES) or critical reflection on what constitutes a good CES outcome. Understanding how CES users perceive the importance of CES outcomes can contribute to a better understanding, use of and normative reflection on CES outcomes. Objective: To describe the perceptions of Dutch healthcare professionals on important outcomes of moral case deliberation (MCD), prior to MCD participation, and to compare results between respondents. Methods: This mixed-methods study used both the Euro-MCD instrument and semi-structured interviews. Healthcare professionals who were about to implement MCD were recruited from nursing homes, hospitals, psychiatry and mentally disabled care institutions. Results: 331 healthcare professionals completed the Euro-MCD instrument, 13 healthcare professionals were interviewed. The outcomes perceived as most important were ‘more open communication’, ‘better mutual understanding’, ‘concrete actions’, ‘see the situation from different perspectives’, ‘consensus on how to manage the situation’ and ‘find more courses of action’. Interviewees also perceived improving quality of care, professionalism and the organization as important. Women, nurses, managers and professionals in mentally disabled care rated outcomes more highly than other respondents. Conclusions: Dutch healthcare professionals perceived the MCD outcomes related to collaboration as most important. The empirical findings can contribute to shared ownership of MCD and a more specific use of MCD in different contexts. They can inform international comparative research on different CES types and contribute to normative discussions concerning CES outcomes. Future studies should reflect upon important MCD outcomes after having experienced MCD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-257
Number of pages12
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017


  • Clinical ethics support
  • Moral case deliberation
  • Outcomes

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