Ethical Foundations of Health Care: Responsibilities in Decision Making

By Jane Singleton; Susan McLaren | Go to book overview

APPENDIX F
Rules of Professional Conduct for Physiotherapists

I. SCOPE OF PRACTICE

Chartered physiotherapists shall confine themselves to clinical diagnosis and practice in those fields of physiotherapy in which they have been trained and which are recognised by the profession to be beneficial.

The term 'clinical diagnosis' in this rule is intended to establish that a Chartered physiotherapist may, by taking a history and conducting a clinical examination and a functional assessment, come to a conclusion as to the cause of a patient's symptoms and thus justify institution of appropriate physiotherapy.

It does not restrict the extension of appropriate professional skills and practice. Chartered physiotherapists shall recognise not only the responsibilities but also the limitations of their professional practice. When the recognition of practice is in question, it will be referred to The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

Training is defined as the accumulation of knowledge and skills gained by formal education and by experience evaluated at a level of competence acceptable for independent clinical practice.

This rule incorporates the ethical principle defining the relationship between Chartered physiotherapists and patients; i.e. Chartered physiotherapists should always aim to benefit patients through the exercise of their professional knowledge and skills acquired through training and experience. The term 'patient' is used throughout these rules to describe a person receiving the services of a Chartered physiotherapist in the context of preventive, primary or secondary health care provision.


2. RELATIONSHIPS WITH PATIENTS

Chartered physiotherapists shall respect the rights, dignity and individual sensibilities of all their patients.

This rule is intended to define the relationship between Chartered physiotherapists and patients on a basis of mutual trust and respect.

In detail this means that all patients will be treated with courtesy and consideration; they will be informed about and must be given the opportunity to consent to or to decline treatment proposals. This requirement for informed consent also extends to the inclusion of patients in any research activities, which also requires the approval of an ethical committee.

Information as to risk and the options of alternative treatment including any warnings of inherent risks in a procedure must take account of the mental, emotional and physical state of the patient.

Failure to warn a patient of the risks inherent in a procedure which is recommended may constitute a failure to respect the patient's right to make his own decision.

The dignity and feelings of the individual patient shall be uppermost in the mind of the Chartered physiotherapist at all times.


3. RELATIONSHIPS WITH MEDICAL COLLEAGUES

-172-

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