Ethical conflict resolution based on an ethics of relationships for brain injury rehabilitation

James F. Malec

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

8 Scopus citations


An ethics of relationships for brain injury (BI) rehabilitation is described based on three principles: (1) human relationships are important; (2) human relationships are as important as individual survival; (3) human relationships are important enough to extend throughout the family of humankind. Within the context of this ethics of relationships, ethical conflict resolution (ECR) is offered as a process to address disagreements among those involved in BI rehabilitation. ECR provides a means to arrive at moral decisions in situations in which people disagree about the appropriate course of action because of differing values. ECR recognizes that, although disagreements in BI rehabilitation settings can be associated with multiple other factors, including disturbed self-awareness, emotions, communication, and interpersonal dynamics, such disagreements may also be value-based, either in whole or part. ECR invites the professional team to identify the value-based portion of these disagreements and provides a rational and supportive process to address disagreements. In this discussion of ECR, common and potentially universal areas of ethical concern in BI rehabilitation are identified, as well as potential risks. Specific examples of the application of ECR in cases of vegetative state, coma stimulation, and cognitive rehabilitation are described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)781-796
Number of pages16
JournalBrain Injury
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology

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