What is the CEN?

The Community Ethics Network (CEN) is a membership-funded collective of over 40 community members committed to advancing the practice of ethics in the community healthcare and support services sectors. The Network provides resources, coordination and support for both clinical and organizational ethics.

What is special about ethics in the home health and community support sectors?

Ethics in home and community support sectors can be different from the sorts of healthcare ethics that arises in hospitals.

First and foremost, our work is in our clients’ homes.  We are guests, even if we are working in a home that we might be considered to ‘provide’, as in a residential setting.  This client home context also means that we often work on our own, or with only a limited number of others. In hospitals there is more likely to be a larger team near at hand, and other specialist teams close by, too.

There have been many advances in healthcare and technology that mean individuals with increasingly complex care requirements can live in the community.  This brings other ethical questions to our work, often related to the perception that inadequate resources are allocated where needed.

Clients at home may make some choices that we might struggle to understand – self-medicating with legal or illegal substances, living at risk in various ways, trialing unapproved medications, or generally adopting ways of living that we might feel are counterproductive to well-being from our own personal perspectives.  Respecting these choices and continuing to provide services without any judgement is imperative, but can lead to moral distress.

Who can join the CEN?

Membership is open to community healthcare and support service organizations including Local Health Integration Networks, service providers, home and community support agencies, and community health centres. We also offer memberships to individuals/students, and academics.

How do I become a member?

Becoming a member is easy. Simply visit our membership pages and select the option most relevant to you. If you need help or more information, please e-mail coordinator@communityethicsnetwork.ca

What are the benefits of membership of the CEN?

The Network provides resources, coordination and support for both clinical and organizational ethics. Among our resources available to members, we offer ethics workshops, speaker series, educational material, and a Community Ethics Toolkit.

These resources can help members develop ethics within their organization and achieve higher quality care, improving accreditation results. At the same time, front-line staff can benefit from our educational resources. Our training workshops are excellent occasions for front-line staff to share their experiences and receive peer support in what may at times feel like an isolated profession. Other benefits of joining the Network include available access to ethics experts.

What does the membership fee pay for?

Membership fees help pay for the cost of printing, administration, website maintenance and other activities in running the Network.

How can we become involved in the Steering Committee?

The Steering Committee is a body of up to twenty volunteer representatives from member organizations which oversees the activities of the CEN. The Committee meets a minimum of six times a year to plan and direct the CEN’s activities. For more information on how to participate in the Steering Committee after having joined the CEN, please contact our coordinator at coordinator@communityethicsnetwork.ca