Ethics Overview

The theology and ethics function at the Catholic Health Association assists its members in navigating the many complex ethical realities in health care today. We do this through consultations, presentations, collaborations with colleagues, developing and sharing resources, webinars, educational programs, research and writing.

Decision Making Informed by Discernment


The Ethical and Religious Directives: Annotations by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

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This publication from the Catholic Health Association incorporates the original text of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services alongside annotations from ethicists throughout the Catholic health care ministry. Annotations include commentary, literature, and links to online articles that can help guide your understanding of this crucial document. Presented in simple top-to-bottom alignment with the original text, The Ethical and Religious Directives: Annotations by the Catholic Health Association of the United States is a must-have resource for any heath care facility or system looking to carry on Jesus’ loving ministry now and into the future.
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ERD Orientation Video (short version)
ERD Orientation Video (long version)

Ethics Information and Resources for COVID-19

Code Status and COVID-19 Patients (posted March 27)
The Catholic Health Association and the Supportive Care Coalition offer this document with gratitude to our colleagues at the University of Washington recognizing that the clinical indicia for decision-making about any medical intervention are the same as they have always been. Although this decision-making model is put forth as a response to COVID-19, it is merely an application and implementation of best-practices applied to the current setting.
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Catholic Ethics and the Challenge of COVID-19, a complimentary webinar series addressing critical ethical issues in caring for patients, families, coworkers and the community during the pandemic.

Catholic Clinical Ethics Program

Catholic Clinical Ethics

CHA announces a new online master's degree program and graduate certificate in Catholic Clinical Ethics for leaders in Catholic health institutions starting fall 2018.

The innovative academic program is offered through a partnership with Georgetown University Medical Center, The Catholic University of America and the Catholic Health Association of the United States.

Catholic Clinical Ethics will advance Catholic health care's leadership in the nation's health and well-being by preparing highly skilled professionals who can address complex changes in biotechnology, clinical treatments and health policy within the framework of human dignity and the Church's moral teachings. It is particularly timely in light of rapid technological change and the transformed health environment. To learn more, visit clinicalethics.georgetown.edu or email [email protected].

» Download the brochure


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Living Well with Serious Illness
The Catholic Health Association developed this updated and refreshed guide to learn about the range of support that is available to patients and families to help them live as well as possible during serious illness. It is part of a series of publications that was created in collaboration with physicians, nurses, theologians and ethicists within Catholic health care to help people of all ages, backgrounds, religious traditions and beliefs make important decisions about serious illness and end-of-life care.

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» Download PDF: English  |  Spanish


CHA_SupportiveCare_CatholicTeachings_lowres_cover Teachings of the Catholic Church on Caring for People at the End of Life
The Catholic Health Association has developed this guide in collaboration with physicians, nurses, theologians and ethicists within Catholic health care. It is based on frequently asked questions to help patients, families and clinicians think about end-of-life decisions regarding medical treatments and care. Although the guide reflects the perspective of Catholic tradition, the information is helpful to people from any religious tradition.

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» Download the PDF (English | Spanish)