In March this year with the onset of COVID-19, the Queensland Clinical Senate and Queensland Clinical Networks, along with ethicists and other health professionals, began work on developing a framework that would advise care decisions if we were in pandemic and hospital resources and intensive care beds were impacted.

In the early stages of the work, Health Consumers Queensland was approached to support the development of the framework.  From that point on consumers were involved and consulted at every stage.  Engagement Advisor, Leonie Sanderson also consulted with current and past members of the Queensland Health Consumers Collaborative and HCQ Consumer Advisory Group on the framework values and principles whilst  Anne Curtis, Engagement Consultant, Special Projects, undertook rapid consultation with the broader community to hear what was important to them if we were in a pandemic situation. In all, more than 80 consumers and community members informed the framework.

The Queensland Ethical Decision-Making Framework is the result of a partnership between clinicians, consumers and other stakeholders, and was the first framework in Australia to be developed with consumers.  The framework and the supporting consumer resources are located on the Queensland Health website: https://www.health.qld.gov.au/clinical-practice/guidelines-procedures/novel-coronavirus-qld-clinicians/resources-for-clinicians

The three documents can be found under the section heading:

Statements, guidelines and directions from professional groups
Queensland ethical framework to guide clinical decision making in the COVID-19 pandemic (PDF 1269 kB)
Queensland ethical decision-making framework – Frequently asked questions (PDF 309 kB)
Shared decision making in Hospital Intensive Care Units during COVID-19 (PDF 2160 kB)

Six of the participating consumers have also worked on the development of consumer resources to ensure consumers and the community understand the purpose of the framework if it is required to be actioned. A shared decision-making infographic and Frequently Asked Questions now sit under the Framework on the Queensland Health website. 

We would like to acknowledge Lis Miller, Keren Pointon, Hamza Vayani, Sharon Boyce, Satrio Nindyo Istiko and Tanya Kretschmann, Helen Mees, Phil Carswell, Martin Chambers, Adele Witte, Lila Pratap, Jim Madden and Delphine Geia for their involvement with the development of the framework and the supporting consumer and clinician resources. 

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