Outcomes of moral case deliberation - the development of an evaluation instrument for clinical ethics support (the Euro-MCD)

M. Svantesson, J. Karlsson, P. Boitte, J. Schildman, L. Dauwerse, G. Widdershoven, R. Pedersen, M. Huisman, A.C. Molewijk

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Clinical ethics support, in particular Moral Case Deliberation, aims to support health care providers to manage ethically difficult situations. However, there is a lack of evaluation instruments regarding outcomes of clinical ethics support in general and regarding Moral Case Deliberation (MCD) in particular. There also is a lack of clarity and consensuses regarding which MCD outcomes are beneficial. In addition, MCD outcomes might be context-sensitive. Against this background, there is a need for a standardised but flexible outcome evaluation instrument. The aim of this study was to develop a multi-contextual evaluation instrument measuring health care providers' experiences and perceived importance of outcomes of Moral Case Deliberation. Methods. A multi-item instrument for assessing outcomes of Moral Case Deliberation (MCD) was constructed through an iterative process, founded on a literature review and modified through a multistep review by ethicists and health care providers. The instrument measures perceived importance of outcomes before and after MCD, as well as experienced outcomes during MCD and in daily work. A purposeful sample of 86 European participants contributed to a Delphi panel and content validity testing. The Delphi panel (n = 13), consisting of ethicists and ethics researchers, participated in three Delphi-rounds. Health care providers (n = 73) participated in the content validity testing through 'think-aloud' interviews and a method using Content Validity Index. Results: The development process resulted in the European Moral Case Deliberation Outcomes Instrument (Euro-MCD), which consists of two sections, one to be completed before a participant's first MCD and the other after completing multiple MCDs. The instrument contains a few open-ended questions and 26 specific items with a corresponding rating/response scale representing various MCD outcomes. The items were categorised into the following six domains: Enhanced emotional support, Enhanced collaboration, Improved moral reflexivity, Improved moral attitude, Improvement on organizational level and Concrete results. Conclusions: A tentative instrument has been developed that seems to cover main outcomes of Moral Case Deliberation. The next step will be to test the Euro-MCD in a field study. © 2014 Svantesson et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Article number30
JournalBMC Medical Ethics
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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