CCMC Glossary of Terms Related To Ethics

Advocacy: Acting on behalf of those who are not able to speak for or represent themselves. It is also defending others and acting in their best interest. A person or group involved in such activities is called an advocate.

Autonomy: A form of personal liberty of action in which the patient holds the right and freedom to select and initiate his or her own treatment and course of action, and taking control for his or her health; that is, fostering the patient’s independence and self-determination.

Beneficence: The obligation and duty to promote good, to further and support a patient’s legitimate interests and decisions, and to actively prevent or remove harm; that is, to share with the patient risks associated with a particular treatment option.

Justice: Maintaining what is right and fair and making decisions that are good for the patient.

Nonmaleficence: Refraining from doing harm to others; that is, emphasizing quality care outcomes.

Veracity: The act of telling the truth.

Ethics Related to Case Management

Legal and ethical principles, although often similar, can at times conflict. Legal duties are based on societal standards, and are the minimal acceptable standards. Ethical standards exceed legal duties and represent a particular professional standard.

Because case management exists in an environment that may look to it to solve or resolve various problems in the health care delivery and payor systems, case managers may often confront ethical dilemmas.  Case managers must abide by the CCMC’s Code of Professional Conduct, as well as by the professional code of ethics for their specific profession (Nurse, Social Worker etc.), for guidance and support in the resolution of these conflicts.

Understanding the underlying values and principles of Case Management is important in resolving ethical dilemmas, whether they are related to end of live issues, experimental treatments, refusal of care or any other reason. The underlying values of case management are based on the belief that case management is a means for improving client health, wellness and autonomy through advocacy, communication, education, identification of service resources, and service facilitation.

The Underlying Principles of Case Management are:

    • placing public interest above their own at all times.
    • respecting the rights and inherent dignity of all of their clients.
    • maintaining objectivity in relationships with clients.
    • acting with integrity in dealing with other professionals to facilitate their clients achieving maximum benefits
    • keeping competency at a level that ensures each client will receive the benefit of services that are appropriate and consistent for the client’s conditions and circumstances.
    • obeying laws and regulations.

Patient advocacy is an important part of case management in that it promotes beneficence, justice and autonomy for clients. Advocacy especially aims to foster the client’s independence. It also involves educating clients about their rights, healthcare and human services, resources, and benefits, and facilitating appropriate and informed decision making, and includes considerations for the client’s values, beliefs and interests.

Certified case managers will serve as advocates for their clients and ensure that:

  1. a comprehensive assessment will identify the client’s needs.
  2. options for necessary services will be provided to the client.
  3. clients are provided with access to resources to meet individual needs.

More information on the professional conduct for case managers can be found at CCMC’s website.

Code of Professional Conduct for Case Managers