Abstract accepted for the International Association of Bioethics (IAB) Conference, Edinburgh, 14-17 June 2016
Abstract (poster presentation):
Approximately four in 1000 individuals in the UK is diagnosed with a psychotic disorder each year, making psychosis a significant clinical and public health concern. In recent years, Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) has become a widespread clinical approach in the treatment of individuals – especially adolescents and young adults – who are in the prodromal phase or have already experienced a First Episode of Psychosis (FEP). Following the publication of the Early Psychosis Declaration (2004), clinical guidelines have been produced to foster good clinical practice in the delivery of EIP services.
This paper describes the ethical arguments underlying good practice guidance in EIP, through an analysis of clinical practice guidelines for EIP in England. Ethical touch points of good practice are found to fall into two main categories. The first category identifies ethical requirements related to service delivery; this category includes patient and family-centred focus of clinical care, risk-benefit ratio in treatment decision-making, respect of privacy, and confidentiality. The second category identifies moral attributes of clinicians: competency, trustworthiness, honesty, and empathy.
The general aim of this paper is to serve as a critical illustration of the ethical foundations of good practice in EIP for young people. We end the paper with a brief reflection on these ethical foundations in relation to young people’s experiences of EIP.