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Tell Me About Your Mother

June 9, 2014

Perry in ParisOn April 24, Constance K. Perry, PhD, an associate professor in the Health Services Administration Program at the College of Nursing and Health Professions, presented at the 10th International Conference for Clinical Ethics Consultation (ICCEC) in Paris, France.

Perry said that the “talk went very well” and that the conference was “incredible.” Her presentation, titled “Tell Me About Your Mother: The Power of a Simple Question to Reveal a Patient’s Voice Through a Family Discussion,” focused on the use of open-ended questions to help families identify patients’ wishes, think beyond their own grief, become empowered, gain respect for their expertise of the patient, and be heard by members of the care team.

“In the United States, there is a movement to develop quality standards for ethics consultation,” Perry explained. “This talk explored one of the methods that I use in ethics consultation which is both powerful and important, yet difficult to fit into a standard skill set.” Hilde Lindemann, the keynote speaker at the ICCEC, said that Perry’s presentation was still reverberating in her brain a day later. A conference attendee even asked Perry when and where she would be publishing her talk.

The ICCEC conference series was founded by George J. Agich and Stella Reiter-Theil in order to create a bridge in the field of ethics between clinical ethics, ethics committees, and ethics consultation services around the world. “The 10th ICCEC in Paris was possibly the best conference I have ever attended because of the quality and diversity of the talks and attendees,” said Perry. This year’s theme was The Patient’s Voice.

While in Paris, Perry continued to teach her courses online via Blackboard and used the tool to share news and updates from the conference with her students. She also spoke with other bioethicists at the conference about their willingness to participate in her future health care ethics courses. Collaborations like this will enhance students’ exposure to diverse cultural approaches to ethical issues in health care practice and possibly lead to other global study opportunities.

Perry’s travel was supported by the Department of Health Services Administration at the College of Nursing and Health Professions and by an International Travel Award from the Office of International Programs of Drexel University.