Code of Ethics December 2013

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1 Code of Ethics December 2013 Ethical Principles The following ethical principles form the basis of the Audiology Australia Code of Conduct: Respect the rights, needs, well-being and autonomy of people Act with integrity Advance knowledge Preamble Audiology is a health care profession, and every person who accesses audiology services in Australia has certain rights regarding the nature of that care. This Code of Ethics is founded on the fundamental principles of quality health care, and is intended to guide both audiologists and members of the general public on ethical practice in audiology. Further information about the rights of all people accessing health care is provided in the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights, produced by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. The Code of Ethics makes clear the responsibilities that members of Audiology Australia have to uphold professional, ethical behavior. Ethical dilemmas are frequently complex, and this preamble offers a logical framework for members to consider their daily practice and their approach to ethical matters upon which the Code of Ethics is based. Eight general principles fundamental to health care ethics are described, and three statements formed from these principles are explained. The Audiology Australia Code of Conduct has been developed from these principles and statements. The Code of Conduct provides more specific guidance for the ethical conduct of Audiology Australia members, and should be read alongside the Code of Ethics when such circumstances are warranted. Audiology Australia Code of Ethics v3 April

2 Special attention is brought to relationships where there is a duty to act with care and diligence and to act in good faith and for a proper purpose. Members of Audiology Australia agree to uphold themselves to the standard of a fiduciary and to act accordingly. This means that a member who is engaged in an uneven power relationship, including those with clients, potential clients, students, interns, employees and research subjects, must always act to safeguard the best interests of the vulnerable party. This includes ensuring conflicts of interest are avoided, and exploitation of the vulnerable party does not occur. The duty to act with care and diligence, in good faith and for a fit and proper purpose is a fundamental base of the client practitioner relationship and, as such, requires the highest standard of care. The principle based ethics described below deal primarily with the traditional clientpractitioner relationship. However, the Code of Ethics applies equally to all members including those in management, research, education, consultancy and diagnostic settings. The four core principles of ethics upon which the Audiology Australia Code of Ethics is based are: Autonomy The client s moral right to make choices and decisions about one s course of action Autonomy asserts the right of people to make decisions about themselves, with the individual as the final arbiter of action or inaction related to their own welfare (whether it is in accordance or defiance of expert recommendation). Health professionals often hold an inequitable position compared to their clients in the depth and breadth of their expert knowledge plus their ability to impede or facilitate access to treatment options. Potentially, this can result in the professional deciding on a course of action in defiance or ignorance of the client s wishes. The principle of autonomy aims to restore the balance of power to the client with the use of informed consent. Beneficence Altruism and the promotion of good Beneficence is best defined as conduct directed towards the well being of others. Practitioners should provide services that are appropriate, accessible and affordable to those who receive them. With this in mind, health professionals have a responsibility to practice in a way that is of value to both society and the individual client, and to preserve the professional standing of Audiology Australia members should consider the perspectives of both when providing services. Audiology Australia Code of Ethics v3 April

3 Nonmaleficience Avoidance of harm Nonmaleficience is based on the long standing maxim first do no harm. This principle should always be considered in conjunction with beneficence, and reminds practitioners to consider the possible pain, expense or inconvenience of services where there may be an expectation of a net positive result. Justice Balancing the needs of the individual with those of the community Justice incorporates fairness, equity and righteousness. It refers to standards and expectations that society holds regarding their rights and services. For the purposes of the Audiology Australia Code of Ethics, justice includes the equitable distribution of scarce resources, respect for people s rights, and respect for morally acceptable laws. From the four core principles above, four additional principles may be derived: Veracity The duty to tell the truth Truthfulness in all communication with clients and the general public upholds the integrity of the profession and promotes clients participation in decisions that affect their hearing welfare. Tailoring communication according to individual requirements allows optimal decision making and fosters relationships with third parties including other professionals. Confidentiality Protection of client health information Confidentiality of client information protects clients and their interests, and limits the access that third parties have to health care information. The scope of this ethical principle extends to legal and legislative requirements applicable to protection of personal information. Client health information should only be accessible to those authorised to have access. Competence Adequate qualification and ability to practice through the acquisition and retention of skills and knowledge The acquisition and maintenance of competence in care ensures that the ability to practice audiology is current, sufficient, relevant and evidence based. In the professional setting, this includes communicative competence. Audiology Australia Code of Ethics v3 April

4 Trust Belief in the honesty, objectivity and benevolence of the practitioner Trust allows the client to have confidence in the practitioner s skills, advice and motives when care is provided. Individuals and the community have the right to expect and receive specialist knowledge secure in the fact that members adhere to the principles of altruism and beneficence. These eight fundamental principles guide the professional behaviour of all Audiology Australia members and the services they perform. From these eight principles, three statements have been derived that form the basis of ethical conduct of Audiology Australia members. These three statements are: Respect the rights, needs, well being and autonomy of people Act with integrity Advance knowledge The Code of Ethics should not be considered a minimum set of rules, but rather an inspiration towards the ethical conduct of members. They should be read and considered as a whole, including the spirit in which they have been written. For information about the expected standards of professional conduct applicable to the Code of Ethics, including specific statements against each standard, reference should be made to the Code of Conduct. No code of ethics can (or should) cover every individual situation. Where it is unclear whether or not a specific situation breaches the Code, the Audiology Australia Ethics Committee will be available to provide confidential advice to members. Audiology Australia Code of Ethics v3 April

5 Code of Ethics Respect the rights, needs, well being and autonomy of people Above all else, client welfare should take precedence over member self interest and the interests of employers, colleagues or other parties. Client welfare is enhanced by respect for the needs, dignity and opinions of people throughout their care, and by giving people their right to receive safe, high quality care. Clinical care is not compromised by members employment or business conditions. Respect is also shown by ensuring client information remains private and confidential, and by only sharing this information if permission is granted. Clients have the right to be involved in decision making for treatment and to have accurate, suitable information communicated to them for their particular needs. Act with integrity As health professionals, Audiology Australia members are obliged to comply with laws and regulations applicable to health care practice in Australia. Members are also obliged to give due regard to the Audiology Australia constitution, this Code and the Code of Conduct. Clients have the right to safe health care, and membership of Audiology Australia should signify community trust in the care provided by members. Integrity is demonstrated by acting with fairness and honesty, by practicing audiology in a competent, responsible and accountable way, and by always striving for high quality standards of care. Participation in continuing professional development, taking an evidence based approach to practice, and being truthful and factual in all dealings with clients and others, are three ways that members can promote integrity. Members should be aware of their own scope of practice and use appropriate judgment when considering their ability to perform specific audiological services. This may especially be relevant to members considering a shift from one area of audiology to another, or members whose own personal or health circumstances may affect their capacity to practice. Audiology Australia Code of Ethics v3 April

6 Advance knowledge The advancement and sharing of knowledge is crucial to the continued progression of the profession of audiology. Continuing professional development encourages members to learn throughout their career, and implicit to this is knowledge sharing with professional colleagues, audiology students and interns, clients and the general public. Members who undertake research are expected to comply with ethical guidelines and research principles that are the foundation of good research practice, and also to share scientific findings that may be of interest or benefit the profession, even if results may be negative or inconclusive. Members who supervise students and interns should be mindful of the personal and professional attributes that make a good supervisor, and provide constructive supervision that promotes skill development and quality practice for those they have agreed to supervise. How to report a breach If a member of Audiology Australia forms the opinion that a colleague is behaving unethically, he/she should first consider if he/she is able to approach the colleague in a helpful way. If this is ineffective, likely to be ineffective, or not practicable, the member should then report the matter to the Audiology Australia Ethics Committee. If a member is uncertain whether or not a colleague s behaviour is unethical, the matter should be referred to the Ethics Committee. Members should include details such as a description of the behaviour and specific section(s) of the Code of Ethics/Code of Conduct believed to be in breach. If a member of the public makes a complaint regarding the ethics or conduct of a member of Audiology Australia, and the matter seems unlikely to be resolved by direct contact with the member, the complaint may be referred to the ethics committee for action and/or referral. Complaints may also be made to the Health Care Complaints Commissioner from the relevant state and territory. All ethical matters are treated confidentially. Although complainants must identify themselves to the Ethics Committee for further action to be taken, requests for anonymity will be respected. Audiology Australia Code of Ethics v3 April

7 Contact: Audiology Australia Ltd PO BOX 504 Brentford Square VIC 3131 PH: Fax: Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights work/national perspectives/charter of healthcare rights/ National Employment Standards https://www.fairwork.gov.au/employment/national employment standards/pages/default.aspx State Health Care Complaints Commissioner contact information content/uploads/2012/01/about the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights Aguide PDF 771 KB1.pdf Audiology Australia Code of Ethics v3 April

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