Workshop – Beyond Consent: Ethical issues in Adolescent Health Care, May 28, 2014

Prior to the official opening of the Canadian Bioethics Society Conference, we will be hosting the following workshop on May 28, 2014 (9am to 4:30 pm), at the Renaissance Hotel, Vancouver.

Beyond Consent: Ethical issues in Adolescent Health Care
Workshop Theme and Purpose: 

Adolescence is considered a time of transition from childhood to adulthood, from dependence to independence and from concrete to more abstract ways of thinking. This period of transition raises ethical questions for healthcare providers who aim to respect the developing autonomy of adolescents, while providing necessary care:

  • Do adolescents have sufficient capacity to make decisions for themselves and their healthcare?
  • Are there limits to cognitive assessments of capacity in adolescents?
  • Should adolescents with eating disorders or substance abuse problems be permitted to refuse treatment as is the case with adults?
  • Are there limits to confidentiality when dealing with adolescent patients?
  • Should greater efforts be made to include adolescents with terminal conditions in advance care planning? What if the parent(s) objects?
  • What are the ethical issues regarding transitioning adolescents to adult care?
  • What do adolescents want from their health care providers?

Please join us and add your perspective as we explore these issues through presentations and panel discussions with healthcare providers, ethicists and adolescent patients.

A variety of speakers will be featured throughout the day. For more information to register, please visit


9-10 am:          Dr. Grant Charles, Associate Professor, UBC School of Social Work

Ethics and Evidence: Learning to look at the consequences of our actions in our work with young people and families in health care settings.

10:00-10:15:    Break

10:15 to noon: Panel discussion

Should adolescents be permitted to refuse treatment? (Rehabilitation treatment for substance abuse; NG feeding for adolescents with intractable anorexia; other case examples)

Participants:  Drs. Curren Warf (Adolescent Medicine, BC Children’s Hospital), Dzung Vo (Adolescent Medicine, BC Children’s Hospital), Carol Ann Saari (Psychiatry, BC Children’s Hospital and Mental Health), Randi Zlotnik Shaul (Director of Ethics, The Hospital for Sick Kids, Toronto).

Noon-1 pm:      Lunch

1-2 pm:            Dr. Christy Simpson (Head, Department of Bioethcis, Dalhousie University).

Making advance directives with and for adolescents who have terminal conditions

2-3 pm:            Adolescent panel and discussion

What do you, as an adolescent, want from your health care provider? How would you like them or others to help you with health care decisions? What does fair treatment look like to you?

3-3:15 pm:       Break

3:15-4:15pm:   Dr. Sandy Whitehouse (Adolescent Medicine, BCCH).

Ethics and transitioning adolescents to adult care

4:15-4:30pm    Summation and closing