PeaceHealth Statement of Common Values
PeaceHealth is a Catholic health system, founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace in 1890, owned and operated by PeaceHealth. The PeaceHealth Board serves as the Sponsor of this ministry, which serves communities in Alaska, Washington, and Oregon.
Our core values of respect, stewardship, collaboration and social justice define how we provide service. We welcome collaborative partnerships that strengthen our ability to serve the common good, which is realized when economic, political and social conditions protect the fundamental rights of all persons, thus extending the healing mission of Jesus Christ. The PeaceHealth vision, “Every person receives safe, compassionate care every time, every touch,” guides what we do. We invite our caregivers and community partners to participate in fulfilling the following commitments, which flow from our core values.
Safe, Quality Health Care
PeaceHealth seeks to promote personal and community health by providing accessible, patient-centered, seamless care from the best employees and clinicians. Our ability to carry out our mission rests largely on relationships with others: health care providers, community and physician organizations, laboratories, government agencies, employers, health plans and individuals. These collaborations require a high level of trust, transparency and commitment to continuous improvement.
Social Responsibility and Spiritual Care
Access to essential health care is a fundamental right. PeaceHealth champions the wellbeing of all persons without regard to age, gender, health status, creed, sexual orientation, culture, race, ethnicity, or economic, immigration, or employment status.
PeaceHealth models its care and culture on the healing ministry of Jesus: compassionate, inclusive, a servant of the poor, and a seeker of justice. As a community, we have a moral responsibility to advocate on behalf of and to care for those who are poor or powerless. We provide holistic care, respecting mind, body and spirit. We express our compassion not only by treating disease but also by easing pain and suffering, promoting wellness, and treating each patient in a loving way.
Spiritual care is a hallmark of Catholic health care. Collaboration among spiritual leaders and ministries of all faiths enables us to support the religious preferences and spiritual needs of everyone we serve. Spiritual care is available within all PeaceHealth facilities. PeaceHealth recognizes all employees as caregivers who serve the heart of our ministry. We champion their health and dignity and are dedicated to their personal and professional growth. We strive to promote workplace relationships that are healing, trusting and accountable, and to give people a voice in matters affecting their work. When major clinical and organizational decisions are required, we engage in a process to determine an appropriate ethical response consistent with our values.
Stewardship of Resources
PeaceHealth resources exist to promote the common good in the communities we serve. Because resources are limited we must prioritize their use. Our core values call us to thoughtful management of our financial, environmental, charitable and human resources. Appropriate stewardship of our financial resources is essential to sustain our healing ministry. We are committed to using resources in ways that are ecologically sound.
The Caregiver/Patient Relationship
The caregiver/patient relationship requires compassionate presence, trust, honesty and confidentiality. We value the exchange of information between caregiver and patient because it fosters effective care and healing. The caregiver and patient share responsibility for collaborating to achieve the goals of care.
Patient advocates are welcome. Ultimately patients make their own treatment decisions, including accepting or rejecting treatment. These decisions also include the right to uncoerced informed consent, access to medical and other information regarding their care, and the right to make an advance directive and to name a surrogate decision maker. Treatment decisions may generate ethical and spiritual dilemmas for caregivers, patients, and their families or decision makers. An ethics professional, an ethics committee and ethical consulting are available to assist in making difficult decisions.
Medical research has the potential to promote personal and community health by advancing treatments. PeaceHealth is committed to supporting research that is consistent with its mission, values and policies. Given PeaceHealth’s respect for the sacredness of human life, the procurement of embryonic stem cells through the destruction of human embryos is incompatible with our values. Provided that PeaceHealth is neither involved in nor benefits from research efforts when destruction of human embryos is involved, PeaceHealth may establish contractual relationships with others who do procure embryonic stem cells from human embryos so long as PeaceHealth is consistent with its ethics policy on Embryonic Stem Cell Research. Research undertaken in PeaceHealth facilities or in collaboration with our partners is subject to approval by the PeaceHealth Institutional Review Board (IRB).
PeaceHealth recognizes that advances in embryonic stem cell research may result in the ability to extract stem cells without destruction of the human embryo. Life-saving therapies are likely to be the product of such research, and we invite progress from these advances. PeaceHealth will continue to make decisions consistent with our mission and values.
Care for the Beginning and End of Life
PeaceHealth strives to promote the sanctity of all human life. Our care embraces women and their children both during and after pregnancy. We are committed to reducing infant mortality and to providing education and quality health care to parents and their children. Because we believe in the sacredness of life’s journey from conception until natural death, direct abortion is not performed in any PeaceHealth-owned, operated or leased facilities. Regarding ectopic pregnancy, PeaceHealth employs the best practice standard of care to remove the pathological tissue that threatens the life of the mother.
Society has at its disposal new technologies for responding to infertility. PeaceHealth provides medical, technical and counseling assistance to infertile couples. However, there are some technologies that PeaceHealth may not provide, including in vitro fertilization and donor insemination.
PeaceHealth believes that life and death are part of a sacred journey. We provide medical, spiritual and emotional support to those who are dying. Palliative care, including effective pain management, is critical in the care of the dying. We are committed to providing a full range of palliative care services.
Any act done with the explicit intent of ending a patient’s life may not be performed in PeaceHealth owned or leased facilities. A patient’s decision to refrain from aggressive or curative treatment will be respected, even when such a decision may result in the person’s death. Medicines capable of relieving pain and suffering may be given to a person even if such therapy may indirectly shorten the person’s life.
Resolution of Unforeseen Issues
There may be unanticipated situations in which the appropriate application of our values requires clarification and discernment. In such situations, a collaborative dialogue will be used to reach resolution. A formal Ethical Discernment process will gather all the stakeholders so that PeaceHealth and its partners may reflect on the application of mission and values to the issue at hand.
PeaceHealth strives to promote the common good within the communities we serve. We recognize that effective delivery of healthcare requires collaboration and partnership. We welcome those who share our mission and values to join us in this journey of healing.
Adopted by the PeaceHealth Board of Directors
November 28, 2013