What is the CEN?

The Community Ethics Network (CEN) is a membership-funded not-for-profit corporation comprised of home health and community support sector organizations committed to advancing the practice of ethics in the community healthcare and support services sectors. The Network supports the development of resources and collaboration for addressing 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 arise in hospitals.

First and foremost, our work is in our clients’ homes. We are typically guests, even if we are working in a home that we might be considered to ‘provide’ – as in a residential setting. Clients often receive support in their home for very intimate activities and this requires that we attend sensitively to the demands of privacy, dignity, and confidentiality.

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 judgement is imperative, but can lead to moral distress.

Who can join the CEN?

Membership is primarily comprised of community healthcare and support service organizations, service providers, home and community support agencies, and community health centres. These are Organizational Members. We also offer membership to individuals as Independent Members.

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 interpersonal and organizational ethics. Our support includes: the tools we use and instruction in how to tailor them for your organization; discounted access to face-to-face and online education and development opportunities for all staff; potential for peer mentoring around ethics and accreditation; ongoing access to the resource bank including client stories exploring specific ethical issues encountered in community-based work.

What does the membership fee pay for?

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

How can we become involved in the Board of Directors?

The Board of Directors oversees the activities of the CEN. The Board is comprised of both Independent Members and representatives from Organizational Members. In all cases, Directors become Governing Members to ensure they act entirely separately from any employer who is an Organizational Member. Directors make decisions in the best interests of the Network regardless of links to other organizations. The Board meets up to 9 times a year (including the AGM) to plan and direct the CEN’s activities. For more information on how to participate in the Board of Directors after having joined the CEN, please contact our coordinator at coordinator@communityethicsnetwork.ca.

We welcome new members year-round! Find out about the benefits of membership
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