Board Policy CA-205: Code of Ethics of Vitalité Health Network

Effective date: 2019-06-18


General provisions

This Code of Ethics defines the rights and responsibilities of patients as well as the responsibilities of Vitalité Health Network (the “Network”) and its caregivers. The Network undertakes to adhere to the values, principles and rules set out in this code.

The Network endorses the following ethical values:

  • Human dignity;
  • Autonomy;
  • Beneficence;
  • Equity.

Patients are the raison d’être of the Network. Therefore the Network undertakes to:

  • Treat them with respect and dignity, taking into account their autonomy, needs and values;
  • Provide them with care and services with kindness, courtesy and compassion;
  • Recognize the importance of their participation in their treatments and keep them informed;
  • Consider them to be full citizens; that is, as having rights, and the means to ensure those rights are respected, as well as responsibilities.

The Network wants to meet the needs of patients and undertakes to:

  • Keep the expertise of its caregivers up to date;
  • Offer quality care and services;
  • Ensure that its caregivers adhere to this Code of Ethics and their professional codes of conduct.

Rights of patients

Right to care and services

Patients have the right to quality health care and services in a safe environment and in the official language of their choice.

Patients have the right to be informed of the care and services available, where they can be obtained, how to access them, and how long the expected waiting period is.

Right to dignity and beneficence

Patients have the right to be treated with respect, courtesy and understanding. The Network wants to respect the dignity, autonomy and needs of patients.

When patients are vulnerable, the Network and its caregivers undertake to be even more attentive to their needs.

Patients have the right to discretion and respect for their privacy.

Right to autonomy

Patients have the right to respect for their autonomy. From this stems their right to accept or refuse care or services. If they are not in a state to make decisions, a designated person, decision-maker or next of kin may do so on their behalf.

Patients also have the right to make decisions that involve them and are of a personal nature.

Patients have the right to refuse a suggested treatment.

Right to equity

Patients have the right to receive the same care and the same services as any other person, regardless of their individual differences.

Right to information to consent to their care and services

Patients have the right to be informed of their state of health, diagnosis, treatment, alternatives, and prognosis in terms they can understand. This will allow them to give their free and informed consent. The Network promotes direct patient involvement in decisions about its care, services and treatments.

Patients may be accompanied and assisted by a person of their choice when they wish to obtain information or begin a process involving care or services offered.

Right to confidentiality and respect for privacy

Patients have the right to the confidentiality of all information about them, and to respect for their privacy (for example, their chart, personal information, presence, and the reason for their presence in the health care system, etc.).

Responsibilities of patients


The Network would like patients to cooperate with staff in assessing and improving their state of health. Patients should provide the Network staff with relevant information about their needs, iincluding all health information (diseases, hospitalizations, prescribed medications, etc.) that may affect the care, services and treatments that are provided.

Interpersonal relations

The Network expects patients to be polite and understanding with other patients, staff members, students and volunteers, and not to behave in a threatening manner toward them. The Network will not accept any form of violence or harassment.

Respect for property

The Network reminds patients that they should show respect for the property of the institution and of other people.


The Network encourages patients to provide all information about their health (illnesses, hospitalizations, medication that has been prescribed for them, etc.) that may influence the care, services and treatments they receive.

Before consenting to care, services or treatments, patients should request explanations or ask questions about anything they do not understand. The Network therefore encourages patients to ask questions about examinations and treatments that are suggested to them and to become informed about the risks and treatment options available.

Refusal of treatment

Patients may refuse any care or services. If they do, they must understand and assume the likely consequences of their refusal.

Participation in care and services

The Network encourages patients to participate in the care and services offered to them, making sure that they understand the information they are given and their role in the continuity of their care and services. The Network encourages patients to talk openly about their care with their care team and to adopt healthy lifestyle habits to stay in good health and prevent illness.

Living will

It is important for patients to inform their physician regarding the care and services they wish to receive when they are no longer capable of making decisions themselves. Patients should also provide him or her with the name and telephone number of the person who will be making decisions on their behalf.

Responsibilities of caregivers

Common goal: your health

The Network's offer patients health care and services that are high-quality on the physical, emotional and spiritual levels, in the official language of their choice and in a safe environment.

The Network undertakes to keep the training of its caregivers up to date.

Caregivers work as a team to ensure that care and services are coordinated.

Caregivers maintain connections with partners in order to promote continuity of care and services.

Respect for dignity

Caregivers will treat patients with kindness and they will refrain from any abuse or degrading attitudes. No form of violence or harassment towards patients will be permitted.

Caregivers will identify themselves and explain the reason for their intervention when they approach patients.

Caregivers will address patients politely and call them by their last name unless the patients instruct them otherwise.

Caregivers will be polite and understanding by, among other things, including patients in conversations and listening to them. The Network's personnel encourages patients to express their needs and expectations.

In so doing, caregivers hope to build a relationship of trust with patients.

Toward the end of the patients’ lives, caregivers will be sure to respect their dignity and they will offer them support services.

Respect for equity

Caregivers undertake to treat patients equitably, regardless of their individual differences.

Caregivers will refrain from any form of discrimination toward patients, including with respect to their ethnic or national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age or physical or mental disabilities.

Respect for confidentiality and protection of personal information

All information about patients is confidential.

Relevant information about patients are not available, but only to professionals providing them with care and services. Professionals are not authorized to disclose it or communicate its contents to others without the patients’ implied or written authorization, unless they are faced with one of the specific situations provided for under legislation.

Caregivers will keep secret anything patients tell them in confidence, unless it can help their attending physician or a caregiver in the care and services they require. In that case, it will be shared in a context that respects the protection of personal information.

Caregivers will be discreet by refraining from commenting in public places on the patients’ state of health, social status, reactions and treatment, service or care plan.

Respect for right to information

The Network and its caregivers recognize the patients’ right to participate in any decision affecting their state of health, as well as the planning of their and services. To that end, caregivers will inform patients about their condition, the care and services they will receive, changes in their health, and steps to be taken to improve their well-being.

Caregivers will make sure patients understand the information they give them. Caregivers will be open to any request for information that is made.

If patients wish, their loved ones will be encouraged to participate in this process.

Upon request, caregivers will inform patients of the steps to be taken to access their chart.

Respect for privacy

Caregivers will respect the patients’ privacy under all circumstances. When the door to the patients’ room or an examination or treatment room is closed or the curtain around the patients' bed is drawn, caregivers will knock or make their presence known, then pause before entering.

Caregivers will also be discreet and sensitive when providing patients with care and services.

Caregivers will stay out of private conversations patients may have with their loved ones.

Consent and refusal of health care and services

The Network and its caregivers undertake to provide patients with all information on their state of health and the care and services they suggest. As a result, patients will be able to consent to the care and services, or to refuse them. However, patients have the right to a period of time to reflect, if they so need.

Caregivers will inform patients of the availability of resources and options to help them make an informed decision.

If patients are unable to consent to care or services, caregivers will provide their decision-maker or next of kin with the information they need to be able to consent or refuse on their behalf, with their best interests in mind.

Other information

Teaching mission

As part of its teaching mission, the Network offers student training programs. Students participating in the Network’s programs provide care and services appropriate to their level of training, under the supervision and authority of professionals. They contribute to the quality of care and services, while training to become the next generation of health-care providers.

Research mission

The Network has a research mission, helping to advance science and the quality of care and services.

The patients’ attending physician, in cooperation with the researchers, may ask them to participate in a project. The physician will give them the information they need in order for them to give their informed, written consent, or to refuse. The Network assures patients that a refusal on their part will not affect the quality of care and services they will continue to receive.

Request for clinical ethics consultation

An clinic ethic consultation service is available on demand to enlighten patients when they have a difficult decision to make.

Feedback and comments

The Network undertakes to offer patients quality care and services in order to meet their needs and the needs of their family. The patients’ satisfaction with the care and services received is important to the Network and improve the quality of care and services offered.

If patients have any questions or concerns about the care or services they have received, or about their rights and responsibilities, the Network and its caregivers would like to know about it. The Network suggests that patients first bring it up with a member of their care team (physician, nurse, physiotherapist, unit manager, etc.). In many cases, this simple step will resolve the situation.

If patients have not received a satisfactory response to their questions or concerns, or if they wish to file a complaint, they may contact the management of the institution or the local quality of care and services department.


The President and CEO is responsible for establishing any structure, promotional campaign, process or directive for the implementation of the Network’s Code of Ethics.

The President and CEO is also responsible for submitting to the Board of Directors (the “Board”) periodic reports on ethical issues within the Network, including corrective measures, if any. He is also responsible for reporting to the Board any violation of the Code of Ethics and action taken in this regard.