Coaching doctors to improve ethical decision-making


Coaching doctors to improve ethical decision-making in adult hospitalised patients potentially receiving excessive treatment: Study protocol for a stepped wedge cluster randomised controlled trial

Benoit, D.D., Vanheule, S., Manesse, R., Anseel, F., De Soete, G., Goethals, K., Lievrouw, A., Vansteelandt, S., De Haan, E. & Piers, R.
PLoS ONE 18(3): e0281447, 2023

Fast medical progress poses a significant challenge to doctors, who are asked to find the right balance between life-prolonging and palliative care. Literature indicates room for enhancing openness to discuss ethical sensitive issues within and between teams, and improving decision-making for benefit of the patient at end-of-life.

Stepped wedge cluster randomized trial design, run across 10 different departments of the Ghent University Hospital between January 2022 and January 2023. Dutch speaking adult patients and one of their relatives will be included for data collection. All 10 departments were randomly assigned to start a 4-month coaching period. Junior and senior doctors will be coached through observation and debrief by a first coach of the interdisciplinary meetings and individual coaching by the second coach to enhance self-reflection and empowering leadership and managing group dynamics with regard to ethical decision-making.

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