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Ethics Consultation Service

The UC Irvine Health Ethics Consultation Service, part of the UC Irvine Health Ethics Committee, is here to help you, your family and healthcare providers identify, understand, clarify, and resolve moral and ethical issues in the hospital setting.

Anyone — including a doctor, nurse, patient or family member — may request a consultation at any time.

Reasons for requesting this service include:

  • You believe there is an issue or concern about what is right, good or fair involving a patient’s care.
  • You feel your concerns have not been addressed after speaking with your treatment team.
  • There are concerns associated with end-of-life care (for example, code status, advance directives, withholding or withdrawal of aggressive medical treatment).
  • You have questions about who can make decisions on behalf of the patient.
  • The patient refuses treatment that doctors are recommending.
  • The patient, family or caregiver is in emotional distress.

Request an ethics consultation

If you are a patient or family member, simply notify your nurse, doctor or the nurse manager of the unit that you would like an ethics consultation.

How it works

  • A physician member of the ethics consult service will speak to you regarding your concerns and the reasons you are requesting a consult. The consult team member may then also speak to others involved in the patient’s care and review the relevant information in the medical record.
  • This person will then arrange, as needed, a meeting with you, your family and/or members of your treatment team, along with members of the ethics consult service, to move toward resolving the issue.
  • The ethics consult team will make a recommendation to the treating physician regarding a resolution of ethical issues, differences of opinion or related issues.
  • You, your family and your treating physicians will ultimately make the decisions.
  • Members of the ethics consult service and the ethics committee include healthcare providers, such as doctors and nurses, as well as social workers, therapists, clergy, community representatives and legal professionals. All discussions involving this group remain confidential.

Our team members

  • Dawn Elfenbein, MD
    Department of Surgery
  • Nance Hove, JD
    Office of Risk Management
  • Joseph Nguyen, SThD
    Spiritual Care
  • Barbara Saak
    Manager of Risk and Regulatory Affairs
  • Lynn Willis
    Office of Regulatory Affairs

Advance directive classes

If you don't have an advance directive, come to our class and learn how to fill one out. You'll have the opportunity to ask questions while we walk you through the process of making healthcare decisions.


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End-of-life decisions

Man holding hands together 


Having an advance directive means confronting our own mortality, which is difficult, says Dr. Douglas Merrill. But putting one together may be one of the most important things you'll ever do. Read more on our blog ›